Egypt condemned on Monday the recent alleged killing of US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig in the “harshest and strongest terms”.
The condemnation follows the release of a video by Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) claiming to have killed the American.
Kassig, also known as Peter, had been held by the extremist militant group since 1 October 2013. He was in an ambulance en route to Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria to deliver medical supplies and trauma medical care equipment and provide medical first responder training to civilians when being captured, according to a statement from his family.
Egypt’s foreign ministry described the killing as “criminal” and “barbaric”, adding that it is “totally incompatible with the teachings of the Islamic religion”.
Kassig had previously served in the US military before turning to aid work and converted to Islam during his captivity, changing his name to Abdul-Rahman.
Kassig’s parents, Ed and Paula, said they are “heartbroken” their son “lost his life as a result of his love for the Syrian people and his desire to ease their suffering”. They also expressed condolences for the families of at least 15 Syrian soldiers shown to be killed in the video released on Sunday morning.
“We are incredibly proud of our son for living his life according to his humanitarian calling,” said Kassig’s parents. “We will work every day to keep his legacy alive as best we can.”
They called upon people not to send flower, but instead donate to the Syrian American Medical Society in their son’s honour.
They also released an excerpt of a letter he sent them in March 2012, telling them of his intention to stay in the region to continue delivering aid to Syrians:
“Here, in this land, I have found my calling. … I do not know much. Every day that I am here I have more questions and less answers, but what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference.”
US President Barack Obama said Kassig’s killing is “an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity”.
Obama was described in the video as a “dog of Rome”, reflecting ISIS’ belief that it is embroiled in a battle between Christianity and Islam. It believes the final battle will be fought at Dabiq, the northern Syrian town where the group claim it recorded part of the video.
The Egyptian foreign ministry “renewed emphasis on the need for concerted efforts of the international community in the fight against terrorism as a global phenomenon”.