Archive

Latest beheading video tries to portray global base of jihadists | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Latest beheading video tries to portray global base of jihadists

The Associated Press

PARIS — The cold-eyed terrorists lined up behind their victims in the latest Islamic State video appear to hail from outside the Middle East, including one from France and possibly two from Britain, as the group tries to show a global reach.

The grisly video — clearly aimed at a Western audience — lingers as much on the faces of the camouflaged terrorists as the men who are beheaded. The victims include American aid worker Peter Kassig and more than a dozen Syrian soldiers.

The images of the Islamic State terrorists, who are shown one by one in close-up, allowed authorities to identify one of them Monday as a 22-year-old Frenchman who converted to radical Islam.

Maxime Hauchard has been on the radar of French authorities since 2011, when he took two trips to Mauritania to attend a Quranic school, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said. The prosecutor said investigators were trying to determine whether another Frenchman is in the video.

President Obama confirmed Kassig’s slaying when the United States reviewed the video.

The overwhelming majority of Islamic State fighters are from the Mideast, but the terrorist group is trying to cement its claim on an Islamic empire straddling Iraq and Syria. Europe appears to be a fertile ground to find supporters, with officials saying thousands of young Europeans have headed off to jihad. More than 1,000 people in France alone are under surveillance for suspected plans to join the terrorists, officials said.

In the video released Sunday, some of the knife-wielding terrorists standing behind their kneeling victims had distinctly Asian features. Another whose face was hooded had the familiar London accent of the jihadi who appeared in beheading videos with American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and with British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning.

There were indications that a Welsh medical student may be the man standing next to Hauchard.

“It’s quite transparent that IS is trying to exaggerate its base of support,” said Charlie Winter, a researcher at the Quilliam Foundation in London. “They are trying to show that Muslims from all over the world are protecting their Syrian brethren and their Iraqi brethren.”

European officials are trying just as furiously to counter that message.

“I call solemnly and seriously on all our citizens, and notably our young people who are the primary target of the terrorist propaganda, to open your eyes to the terrible reality of the actions of Daesh,” said French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. “These are criminals that are building a system of barbarity.”

Hauchard gave an interview to France’s BFM television in July, telling the network he had helped to capture Mosul, the Iraqi city whose fall eventually prompted the United States to resume military operations in Iraq.

“We’re waiting for death,” Hauchard said at the time.

“My objective is to be a martyr.”

A man from Wales, Ahmed Muthana, said he thinks he saw his son, 20-year-old Nasser Muthana, in the latest video, and Winter confirmed the likeness.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.