Middle East News

ISIS Video Claims American Hostage Peter Kassig Beheaded

On Sunday, the Islamic State released a video that showed an executioner standing over the severed head of a man it identified as American hostage Peter Kassig. Kassig, a former Army Ranger, disappeared more than a year ago at a checkpoint in Syria while delivering supplies.

American intelligence agencies reportedly received indications that the terror group ISIS had killed Kassig, although they could not be sure without a body or corroborating evidence. After the video was released, intelligence analysts conducted an assessment. A senior official said the government is increasingly convinced the video is authentic and that Kassig is dead, the New York Times reported.

Kassig, 26, is a former Army Ranger from Indianapolis who worked for charity groups in Syria and Lebanon. He was captured by militants in October 2013. His family said that during his captivity, he was converted to Islam and his name was changed to Abdul-Rahman, or “servant of the most merciful,” USA Today reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Ed and Paula Kassig” author_title=”Parents of Peter Kassig”]

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.


Kassig served in the Midle East after he enlisted in the Army in 2006. He served in Iraq from April through July 2007 before he was medically discharged. He chose to do aid work in the area after a spring break trip to Beirut while studying political science at Butler University. He decided to leave school and return to Lebanon in 2012, working as a medical assistant and humanitarian worker, ABC News reported.

Kassig founded Special Emergency Response and Assistance, a relief organization centered on the belief that there is room for improvement in how humanitarian groups interact with the people they serve.

The video is more than 15 minutes long and shows up to one dozen men being beheaded. “Here we are, eagerly awaiting for the remainder of your crusading armies to arrive,” the executioner says in the video.

The terrorist with a British accent, dubbed Jihadi John by British media, is alleged to be the executioner of two American and two British hostages. The man in the video released Sunday speaks with a similar British accent.

If confirmed, Kassig will be the third American to be beheaded by the group, whose tactics were disavowed by al-Qaeda earlier this year.

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