MOSCOW, November 16 (Sputnik) - Ed and Paula Kassig, parents of Peter Kassig, have asked the media to abstain from sharing or broadcasting the video, allegedly depicting the US aid worker’s beheading by the Islamic State (IS), in a statement published on the family’s Facebook page, “Mercy for Abdul-Rahman Kassig – formerly known as Peter”.
“The family respectfully asks that the news media avoid playing into the hostage takers’ hands and refrain from publishing or broadcasting photographs or video distributed by the hostage takers,” the parents said. “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’s parents added.
Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic State released a video of a masked man, believed to be the Briton “Jihadi John”, claiming he had beheaded Kassig, 26. The killing itself was not part of the footage but the man referred to a decapitated head lying near as “Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen,” as quoted by the Los Angeles Times. The authenticity of the video has not been verified.
Ed and Paula Kassig stated that they are aware of the reports “about our treasured son and are waiting for confirmation from the government”.
“If confirmed, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American aid worker and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” the US National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement, as quoted by the Guardian.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “horrified by the cold blooded murder of Abdul-Rahman Kassig” in a post on Twitter, adding “ISIL have again shown their depravity.”
I'm horrified by the cold blooded murder of Abdul-Rahman Kassig. ISIL have again shown their depravity. My thoughts are with his family.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) 16 ноября 2014
Kassig, a former US soldier from the state of Indiana, was abducted in Syria in October 2013. He originally appeared in another IS video, showing the execution of a British aid worker Alan Henning, 47. Kassig converted to Islam in captivity, changing his name to Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
Kassig briefly served Iraq in 2007, until he was honorably discharged for medical reasons. He returned to the US to study political science. Kassig later travelled to Beirut, Lebanon, to work at a Palestinian refugee camp. He set up his own aid organization, known as Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA), tasked with providing blankets, cooking stoves, propane fuel tanks, according to the Mirror.
The video was released hours after reports emerged that “Jihadi John” was injured in a US-led airstrike. “Jihadi John” is notorious for beheading US journalists James Foley, 40, and Steven Sotloff, 31, as well as British aid workers David Haines, 44, and Alan Henning, 47. The gruesome videos of the killings were later posted online.