In a video released by the Islamic State on Sunday, the group says they have beheaded U.S. hostage Peter Kassig and warned the United States they would kill other U.S. citizens “on your streets”.
The announcement of Kassig’s death, in what would be the fifth such killing of a Western/captive by the group, was part of a 15-minute video in which Islamic State shows the beheadings of at least 14 men it said were pilots and officers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Kassig’s beheading is not seen in the video, but it shows the British masked militant dubbed “Jihadi John” standing with a decapitated head covered in blood lying at his feet. “This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen,” he says.
According to reports, Jihadi John is believed to have been wounded in an air attack during a meeting of IS leaders in an Iraqi town close to the Syrian border earlier this month.
The format of this video was different from previous ones, not only because it showed other beheadings but also because these were shown in graphic detail. The beheadings of the Syrian personnel were filmed in death squad style, with militants standing behind kneeling men in dark blue overalls. In slow motion shots, each of the militants is shown drawing a knife from a box on the side of the road.
“To Obama, the dog of Rome, today we are slaughtering the soldiers of Bashar and tomorrow we will be slaughtering your soldiers,” Jihadi John says. “And with Allah’s permission … the Islamic State will soon … begin to slaughter your people in your streets.”
The purported location was also disclosed, the northern Syrian town of Dabeq near the Turkish border. Jihadi John says they had buried Kassig there, “Here we are burying the first American crusader in Dabeq. Eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive.”
In a statement, Kassig’s parents Ed and Paula Kassig said they were aware of news reports “about our treasured son” and were awaiting confirmation from the government as to their authenticity.
UPDATE: The White House confirmed the death of Peter Kassig after reviewing the video, and released a statement from President Obama:
Statement from Peter Kassig’s parents after the White House’s confirmation: