A video released early Sunday morning on the Internet shows the terrorist group ISIS, or ISIL, taking claim of another American victim.
The video, which intelligence officials are attempting to validate, claims to show that captured U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig has been killed.
According to NBC News, the video features a masked militant with a British accent standing over a severed head. “This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen,” said the militant.
Kassig was born Peter Kassig, but changed his name after converting to Islam. Kassig, 26, was from Indiana and was working as a humanitarian aid worker in Syria when he was captured by ISIS in October, 2013.
“We are aware of a video that claims to show the murder of U.S. citizen Peter Kassig,” said National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan in a statement. “The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. 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.”
Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, said the video illustrated the “depravity” of ISIS and that he was “horrified by the cold blooded murder of Abdul-Rahman Kassig.”
Kassig’s family has also released a statement: “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,” part of the statement reads. “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.”
In 2007, Kassig was deployed as a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq before being honorably discharged on medical grounds. When he returned to the states, he started a bachelor’s degree program in political science and trained as an EMT. Eventually, he decided to move to Lebanon to work with Palestinian refugees.
He then started his own relief organization, Special Emergency Response and Assistance, which moved him to the Syrian border with Turkey. The group smuggled supplies for refugees and hospitals in Syria. He was on route to the Syrian city of Deir Ezzour when he was captured.
Kassig converted to Islam in captivity.