Extremist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) released a video showing the beheading of at least 15 Syrian soldiers and what the group claims is the severed head of United States aid worker Peter Kassig.
The video, which circulated on social media on Sunday morning, was approximately 15 minutes in length and subtitled in English. The video remains unverified at the time of print.
The video, unlike previous clips of a similar nature, did not show Kassig’s beheading.
The ISIS militant who was labelled ‘Jihadi John’ by the British media appears in the video participating in beheading of the “soldiers of Bashar” Al-Assad. In a direct message to US President Barack Obama, who he describes as the “dog of Rome”, the masked militant vowed that “tomorrow we will be slaughtering your soldiers”.
British media had reported hours before the release of the video that ‘Jihadi John’ had been injured in US airstrikes.
ISIS rebranded itself ‘Islamic State’ earlier this year, but the group and its claims have been rejected and condemned by many of Islam’s highest institutions.
Kassig, who reportedly converted to Islam whilst in captivity and changed his name to Abdul-Rahman, has been held by the militant group since October 2013. He was abducted at a checkpoint while trying to deliver aid in Syria.
His parents repeatedly asked Kassig’s captors for mercy and to release him.
Following the release of the video on Sunday, his parents released a short statement saying they are “waiting for confirmation from the government as to the authenticity of these reports”.
They asked the media to respect their privacy and “that the news media avoid playing into the hostage takers’ hands and refrain from publishing or broadcasting photographs or video distributed by the hostage takers”.
Kassig’s parents stressed: “We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause.”