U.S. President Barack Obama called it “pure evil.” A 16-minute video has been uploaded to various social networking sites by Islamist State depicting the beheading of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig. The video shows a black-clad, masked militant waving Kassig’s head.
“Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter,” Obama told reporters on Air Force One during his homeward bound trip from Australia.
Obama went on to praise Kassig, labeling the act in which he was killed as one of “pure evil.”
Kassig, 26, was captured on October 1, 2013, by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants on his way to the city of Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.
After conversion during captivity, Kassig took the name Abdul-Rahman.
The footage does not actually show the executioner, a British militant known as ‘Jihadi John’, kill Kassig. According to Reuters, John can be seen standing with a decapitated head at his feet.
“This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen,” he says.
This comes despite earlier reports that the extremist, who has executed other UK and US hostages, was wounded in an airstrike on a top-level extremists’ meeting in Iraq last week.
The video allegedly showing Kassig’s death is part of 15 minutes of footage, which depicts John, alongside 18 other unmasked IS militants, beheading 20 men one by one. The victims have been identified as officers serving under the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.