CBCNews: David Haines beheading promps British PM to call emergency meeting

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) Prime Minister David Cameron is summoning military and security chiefs for an emergency meeting Sunday in response to the beheading of a British hostage and a threat against another.

The meeting comes after Islamic extremists released a video showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines and threatening another with death.

Mike Haines, the victim’s brother, said David Haines had been murdered “in cold blood.” Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it saw no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video.

Haines is the third Westerner beheaded in recent weeks by the militant Sunni group ISIS, also known as Islamic State and ISIL, which has seized vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. The first two were U.S. journalists.

ISIS extremists had threatened Haines’s life in an earlier video released nearly two weeks ago.

The masked man shown on the latest video, which ends with footage of Haines’s body, seems similar to the man in the earlier beheading videos. The tall man speaks with a similar British accent and — as in the two earlier videos — threatens the captive with a large knife brandished in his left hand.

The video shows Cameron condemning ISIS. The man with the knife then condemns Britain’s support of American action against the group and says the captive must pay with his life.

Family’s plea came day before video release

The 44-year-old aid worker’s family had issued a plea to his captors the day before the latest beheading video was released. They urged the hostage-takers to contact them. The family said ISIS had ignored earlier attempts to open communications.

British officials had said they were doing everything possible to protect Haines. An earlier rescue bid led by U.S. forces had failed, however, and it is not clear Western agencies know the precise location of the hostage-takers.

Haines was kidnapped in Syria in March last year when he was working for the French aid group Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development, or ACTED, to help victims of the fighting there.

After his killing, Haines’s family released a statement praising his passion for charitable work.

Mike Haines said his brother was “most alive and enthusiastic” when involved with humanitarian missions.

“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 of his late brother. “He was and is loved by all his family and will be missed terribly.”

Haines worked for humanitarian missions in extremely dangerous conflict zones, including Libya during its civil war and South Sudan shortly after it gained independence.

In addition to ACTED, he had worked for groups such as Handicap International, which helps the disabled during conflicts, and Nonviolent Peaceforce, which sends unarmed peacekeepers into conflict zones.

Western leaders condemn ISIS

British officials kept news of Haines’s abduction out of the public eye for security reasons until ISIS showed him in a video nearly two weeks ago.

U.S. President Barack Obama said after the killing that the United States would stand with Britain in an expanded effort against the terror group.

“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,” he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a tweet sent Saturday evening that “Canada condemns the barbaric killing of David Haines byISIL.”

“Our thoughts & prayers are with his family at this tim,” the tweet said.

Germany and France, which is holding an international conference Monday to combat ISIS, also condemned Haines’s killing.

“The odious assassination of David Haines shows once more the need for the international community to mobilize against the base and cowardly Daesh,” French President François Hollande said, using the group’s Arabic acronym.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the Haines killing “an abhorrent act of barbaric violence beyond all limits of human civilization” and said the Paris meeting comes at the right time.

There needs to be “internationally agreed action to effectively stop the flow of fighters and money,” he said.

Some British lawmakers called for Britain to launch air strikes against ISIS forces after the killing.

 

 

www.shafaqna.com/English

 

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