LONDON (AFP) – Islamic State radical militants mounted brutal offensives on both the Syrian battlefield and in their online propaganda war Friday, murdering a British hostage and attempting to storm a key border town.
In a video released by the group in response to US-led air strikes against it, a masked IS fighter beheads British driver Alan Henning and threatens a US captive, aid worker Peter Kassig.
The footage, almost identical to three previous execution films released by the group, inspired revulsion around the world and drew a stark warning from Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron.
“We will do all we can to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice,” he said, declaring that the apparent murder “shows just how barbaric and repulsive these terrorists are.”
US President Barack Obama condemned the “brutal murder” and warned that the US-led coalition “will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy” the IS group.
File photo of Alan Henning holding a child in a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border. AFP
The IS video, found online by SITE, a private terrorism monitor, opens with a news report about the British parliament’s vote last week to authorise air strikes against militant targets in Iraq.
Then it cuts to Henning, on his knees against a desert backdrop and wearing an orange prison-style outfit, with a masked militant standing over him wielding a combat knife.
Henning, a 47-year-old volunteer driver who went to Syria with a Muslim charity, explains to camera that, as a member of the British public, he is being made to pay for the parliamentary vote.
Then the militant, who has the same British accent as the killer in previous IS execution videos, directly addresses Cameron.