Obama confirms ‘evil’ murder of U.S. aid worker Kassig

Peter Kassig in front of a truck somewhere along the Syrian border between late 2012 and autumn 2013 as Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA) was delivering supplies to refugees. (AFP)

President Barack Obama confirmed Sunday the death of U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, calling his beheading at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group “pure evil.”

“Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity,” Agence France-Presse quoted Obama as saying in a statement released aboard Air Force One as he flew back to the United States from an Asia tour.

Before Obama’s statement,  ISIS militants claimed they beheaded Kassig in a video.

The 26-year-old former U.S. soldier was paraded at the end of an ISIS video released in October that showed the murder of British aid worker Alan Henning.

Previouisly, Britain and the United States said they were analyzing the video to confirm the authenticity of the video.

“We are aware of a further video and are analyzing its contents. If true this is a further disgusting murder,” said the spokeswoman for British Foriegn Office said.

Kassig's parents said Sunday they were awaiting official confirmation on the death of their "treasured son."

"We are aware of the news reports being circulated about our treasured son and are waiting for confirmation from the government as ... to the authenticity of these reports," Ed and Paula Kassig said in a statement.

The same video showed the gruesome simultaneous beheadings of at least 18 men described as Syrian military personnel, the latest in a series of mass executions and other atrocities carried out by ISIS.

“This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen of your country," said a black-militant wearing a balaclava, the same outfit worn by the man who beheaded two American journalists and two British aid workers in earlier videos.

The man stood over a severed head bearing a resemblance to Kassig, a former American soldier who risked his life to provide medical treatment and aid to those suffering from Syria's civil war.

“Here, we are burying the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive,” the militant said.

Dabiq is the site of a major 16th century battle in what is now northern Syria that saw the Ottomans defeat the Mamluks and begin a major expansionist phase of an empire the ISIS group considers to have been the last caliphate.

The United States has been conducting airstrikes targeting ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

It is believed that hundreds of ISIS militants have been killed so far with reports emerging last week of the group’s leader serious wounds following a U.S.-led airstrike.

The aid worker took on the name of Abdul-Rahman Kassig after converting to Islam, before his capture.

[With Agencies]

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45
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