Islamic State Releases Video Showing Alleged Execution of British Aid Worker

Islamic State Releases Video Showing Alleged Execution of British Aid Worker

The Islamic State group a new video purporting to show the beheading of British hostage David Haines, Al Jazeera reports. Haines, 44, was kidnapped last year in Syria while helping to deliver humanitarian aid with the French agency ACTED.

His death comes after the group murdered James Foley and Steven Sotloff, both American journalists, in a similar manner.

According to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist activity online, the video bears the logo of al-Furqan productions, a media account associated with IS. Haines was previously shown on camera during the execution of 31-year-old American journalist Steven Sotloff. 

The Foreign Office said the video, if authentic, was another "disgusting murder."

Haines was abducted in Syria in March of 2013. The Guardian reports that Haines had been in Syria for just three days when he was kidnapped and handed over to IS militants fighting there. According to the New York Times, Haines' identity was kept secret for 19 months to allow time for the family to work for his release. 

The 2:27 minute video, titled “A Message to the Allies of America,” opens with British Prime Minister David Cameron talking about Britain's role in Iraq. In forced remarks, Haines says that he is holding Cameron responsible for his execution, which was caused by the United Kingdom’s coalition with the U.S. against the Islamic State.

"My name is David Cawthorne Haines. I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution," says Haines in the video. "You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State, just as your predecessor, Tony Blair, did. Following a trend amongst our British Prime Ministers who can’t find the courage to say no to the Americans."

The executioner, speaking in a British accent, appears to be the same masked militant present in the Foley and Sotloff videos. A transcript of the video (which we won't be embedding or linking to) was uploaded on Saturday by Syria obsevor Eliot Higgins.

A statement from the family of Haines released earlier Saturday though the British Foreign office said the militants had not replied to previous messages pleading for the release of Haines. "We are the family of David Haines," said the family statement We have sent messages to you to which we have not received a reply. We are asking those holding David to make contact with us."

In a statement, President Obama said he "strongly condemns the barbaric murder" of Haines and pledged to bring his killers to justice. "The United States stands shoulder to shoulder tonight with our close friend and ally in grief and resolve," said Obama. "We will work with the United Kingdom and a broad coalition of nations from the region and around the world to bring the perpetrators of this outrageous act to justice, and to degrade and destroy this threat to the people of our countries, the region and the world."

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted this statement:

The video comes days after President Obama announced that a coalition of nations would engage in a campaign of airstrikes against the IS in both Iraq and Syria.

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Jared Keller

Jared Keller is the former director of news at Mic.

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