The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released a video on Saturday which purported to show the third beheading of a foreign hostage, British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines, in less than a month.
Confirming Haines’ slaying, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil… We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.” He called an emergency meeting of his top advisers on Sunday morning.
The video emerged a day after Haines’ family issued a public plea late Friday urging his captors to contact them. It shows Haines, wearing an orange jumpsuit and kneeling on a bare hill under the open sky, in a landscape that appears identical to where two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were killed by the group in back-to-back executions in the past month.
Haines, a 44-year-old father of two from Perth in Scotland, was kidnapped last year while working for the French agency ACTED.
In the moments before his death, Haines is forced to read a script in which he blames his country’s leaders for his killing. “I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution… You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State… Unfortunately, it is we the British public that in the end will pay the price for our Parliament’s selfish decisions,” he says.
Foley and Sotloff made similar speeches to US President Barack Obama, which have been dismissed as scripted by ISIS and delivered under duress.
The video entitled, “A Message to the Allies of America,” opens with Cameron talking about working with the Iraqi government and allied Kurdish Peshmerga forces to defeat ISIS. “This British man has to pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State,” says a masked man dressed in black with a British accent, standing over Haines. The video then shows the beheading of the kneeling man.
At the end of the video, another hostage, identified as Alan Henning, is shown and the masked man says he will be killed if Cameron continues to support the fight against Islamic State. The purported executioner appears to be the same British-accented man who appeared in videos with Foley and Sotloff.