INDIANAPOLIS - An Internet video released Friday purports to show an Islamic State group fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning and threatening yet another American captive -- this time from Indiana -- in the fourth such killing carried out by the extremist group now targeted in U.S.-led airstrikes.
The video mirrored other beheading videos shot by the Islamic State group, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq. It ended with an Islamic State fighter threatening a man they identified as a 26-year-old American named Peter Kassig.
Kassig, an Indianapolis native and Butler University student from 2011 to 2012, was a former U.S. Army Ranger and was kidnapped while providing aid to Syrian refugees on Oct. 1, 2013.
He joined the military in 2006, briefly deployed to Iraq with the Amy Rangers in 2007 and was honorably discharged due to medical reasons.
In 2012, a CNN reporter spoke with Kassig as he was treating wounded Syrians in Lebanon. He served not as a doctor or nurse, but as a volunteer helping refugees who were forced to flee their homes as well as rebel fighters.
He had been serving with a group he founded with another Butler student called Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA.
Kassig's parents issued a statement Friday describing their son's work and asking for privacy.
"The Kassig family extends our concern for the family of Alan Henning. We have read about his work and his generous character with great respect and admiration. We ask everyone around the world to pray for the Henning family, for our son, and for the release of all innocent people being held hostage in the Middle East and around the globe."
According to his parents, Kassig converted to Islam while in captivity and now goes by the name Abdul-Rahman.
In a statement issued Friday evening, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed that Kassig was being held by Islamic State militants.
"At this point we have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video released earlier today. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal -- military, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence -- to try to bring Peter home to his family," Hayden said.
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly released the following statement Friday evening:
“This is an unimaginably devastating situation for any parent to endure. My prayers are with Peter’s parents at this terrible time. My family, like everyone in Indiana and across our country, is praying for and thinking of Peter and his family. I ask for respect of the Kassig family’s privacy as they seek to navigate this heartbreaking situation. I ask all Hoosiers to continue to keep Peter in their thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.”
U.S. Sen. Dan Coats also released a statement:
“I ask all Hoosiers to join with me in prayer for Peter Kassig at this extraordinarily difficult time. I urge privacy for his family and join his loved ones in feeling profound anguish about Peter’s situation.”
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence asked for prayers Friday for Kassig and his family during "this unspeakably difficult time."
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