The Islamic State (ISIS) released a gruesome 15-minute video to announce the beheading of former American soldier Peter Edward Kassig, 26, who was kidnapped by jihadis after travelling to Syria as an aid worker.
Titled “Although the disbelievers dislike it,” the video deviates from previous Islamic State beheading videos where the viewer is shown the kneeling victims reading a scripted text. In contrast, a severed head, apparently that of Kassig, is shown on the ground in front of the British beheader only in the last minute of the video.
In that minute, the familiar beheader, with his East London accent, shakes his knife and speaks directly to the U.S. president:
“We say to you, Obama … you claim to have withdrawn from Iraq four years ago. We said to you then that you were liars, that you had not withdrawn. And that if you had withdrawn, you would return even after some time – you would return.”
The executioner continues, adding, “Your forces will return greater in number than they were before. We also remind you of the haunting words of our Sheikh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who told you: ‘The spark has been lit here in Iraq and its heat will continue to intensify by Allah’s permission until it burns the crusader army.’ ”
In response, President Barack Obama, who confirmed the beheading, said Kassig “was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity.”
The video begins with a lengthy agitprop lesson in history, painting the Islamic State alternatively as the victim of American aggression in Iraq and the savior of a beleaguered and ravaged population.
The invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and its allies is purported to be the cause of the newly formed army of the “sons of Islam” that quietly formed against the “armies of the Cross.” While the U.S. enjoyed “the “ecstasy of false victory,” we are told that jihadi battalions and factions were preparing themselves under the tutelage of Osama bin Laden, among others, until “the people of Islam were anguished by the affliction and tribulation that struck Ahlus-Sunnah [Sunni Muslims] in the lands of Sham.”
Painting themselves as the saviors of the Iraq people, who are shown as the bloodied victims of American attacks, the video declares, “Their brothers from the Islamic State of Iraq could not abandon them.”
The video then cuts to typical Islamic State action footage, the brutal group’ s trademark bravado — a collage of enemy combatants (Christians, Shiites, Americans) being blown to pieces. Children, the supposed victims of enemy attacks, are shown bloodied.
Hoping to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies, the middle of the video shows particularly gruesome footage — specifically crafted to increase the horror — of a group of Syrian soldiers (said to be pilots) being beheaded by Islamic State jihadis. The pilots are shown one by one, forced to walk bent over, each being led by a jihadi.
During this macabre death march, each jihadi picks up a hunting knife from a repository, ready to behead on command. One of the jihadis is suspected to be 20-year old Nassar Muthana, a star British medical student who travelled to Syria in June to join the Islamic State.
The pilots are forced to kneel. The familiar British face of the Islamic State speaks: “To Obama, the dog of Rome. Today we are slaughtering the soldiers of Bashar and tomorrow, we will be slaughtering your soldiers … and soon we will be slaughtering your people on your streets.”
The camera pans repeatedly to the knives in the hands of the jihadis, running their fingers over the sharp blades. When the British executioner gives the command, the victims are pushed down to the ground. The horror is compounded by slow-motion shots of the beheadings and amplified sound effects of panicked breathing and gushing blood.
After the killings, the heads are displayed on top of the pilots’ bodies. The video then shows a close up of each of the beheaders with a calm and serene look on his face, an eerie statement on the mentality of a group of people who have clearly declared themselves an enemy of humanity.
Warning — The following video contains extemely graphic footage:
Why doesn’t the latest Islamic State video show Peter Kassig kneeling and reading scripted last words like in previous clips? For this and more watch below.