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ISIS Releases Beheading Video of British Aid Worker David Cawthorne Haines, Married Father of Two

( [email protected] ) Sep 15, 2014 02:06 PM EDT
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released a video on Saturday that showed what appeared to be the beheading of a British citizen, David Haines, an aid worker who is seen kneeling on a bare hill in a landscape that appears identical to where two American journalists were killed by the group in back-to-back-executions in the past month, according to footage and a transcript released by SITE Intelligence, which tracks the terrorist group, according to The New York Times.
David Haines

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released a video on Saturday that showed what appeared to be the beheading of a British citizen, David Haines, an aid worker who is seen kneeling on a bare hill in a landscape that appears identical to where two American journalists were killed by the group in back-to-back-executions in the past month, according to footage and a transcript released by SITE Intelligence, which tracks the terrorist group, according to The New York Times.

In the moments before his death, Mr. Haines, 44, like the two journalists killed before him, reads a script in which he blames his country's leaders for his killing. Addressing Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, he says, "You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State, just as your predecessor Tony Blair did, following a trend among our British prime ministers who can't find the courage to say no to the Americans," according to The New York Times.

His family released this statement hours after his death was made known. It reads, in part:

"David was like so very many of us, just another bloke. Born in 1970 to parents who loved us both, our childhood was centred around our family. Holidays in caravans and tents, days away as a family which we remember fondly," his brother wrote. "David and I were brought up to know right from wrong, although we might not with the innocence of youth have always chosen right. David was a good brother, there when I needed him and absent when I didn't. I hope that he felt the same way about me."

"David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion. During this time David began to decide that humanitarian work was the field he wanted to work in," the letter reads. "David served with the UN in the Balkans, helping people in real need. There are many accolades from people in that region that David helped. He helped whoever needed help, regardless of race, creed or religion. During this time David began to decide that humanitarian work was the field he wanted to work in."

The video shows Haines kneeling on a bare hill under the open sky, in a landscape by Deal Boat that appears identical to where two American journalists were killed by the group in back-to-back-executions in the past month. In the moments before his death, the 44-year-old Mr. Haines is forced to read a script, in which he blames his country's leaders for his killing, according to The New York Times.

"I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution," he said. "You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State." He added: "Unfortunately, it is we the British public that in the end will pay the price for our Parliament's selfish decisions."

The video ends with the black-clad executioner, who was speaking in English with what sounded like a British accent, identifying their next victim as Alan Henning, another British citizen. SITE Intelligence, which tracks jihadist groups, said the executioner appeared to be the same man who killed the American hostages, according to The New York Times.

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain called an emergency meeting of his top advisers Sunday morning.The British government said Saturday night that it was trying to verify the video, although Mr. Cameron later denounced the killing on Twitter, saying: "The murder of David Haines is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to his family who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude."

"We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes," according to The New York Times.

Britain and the United States are among the only nations in the world that have held to a hard-line, no-concessions policy when dealing with kidnappings by terrorist groups.

President Obama, in a statement released Saturday, said the United States strongly condemned "the barbaric murder" of Mr. Haines. "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," he said, according to The New York Times.