Terrorist group ISIS released a video Saturday purportedly showing the execution of British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines.
If confirmed, it is the third time the organization, which has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria, beheaded a captive and released a video of the execution, intending to send a message to Western nations. Britain recently said it would send machine guns and ammunition to Iraq to help that government battle the militants, and it is weighing whether to participate along with the U.S. in possible airstrikes in Syria against the terror group.
Haines, 44, like others in taped executions by the terror group, is forced to read a script in the video, in which he blamed his death on British Prime Minister David Cameron and the British government’s decision to join the U.S. in its battle against ISIS.
An official said the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office is aware of the video and are working urgently to verify it. “If true, this is another disgusting murder,” the statement said. “We are offering the family every support possible. They ask to be left alone at this time.”
President Barack Obama also strongly condemned the murder, which he called “barbaric,” and reiterated his goal to “degrade and destroy” the terrorist organization.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Mr. Haines and to the people of the United Kingdom,” the president said in a statement. “The United States stands shoulder to shoulder tonight with our close friend and ally in grief and resolve. We will work with the United Kingdom and a broad coalition of nations from the region and around the world to bring the perpetrators of this outrageous act to justice, and to degrade and destroy this threat to the people of our countries, the region and the world.”
Mike Haines detailed his brother’s life in a statement released on behalf of their family.
“David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair,” he said. ”He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.”