nationalHostage Alan Henning thought his work for Muslim charity would save him from ISIS

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) The Briton threatened with execution next by militants from Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham is a Manchester taxi driver who drove a van full of aid to Syria to help children in the war-torn country.

Alan Henning had taken time off from his job to deliver clothes and bedding that he and friends had collected, when he was abducted on Boxing Day last year.

The 47-year-old father of two was part of a small aid group called Aid 4 Syria, friends told The Daily Telegraph. He was on his fourth convoy to the country when he was seized by masked men near the Turkish border.

He is seen in the closing seconds of a horrific two-and-a-half minute video released on Saturday night showing the beheading of David Haines, also an aid worker.

Mr. Henning appears kneeling in the desert, in orange, shapeless clothes, as the executioner stands behind him and claims David Cameron “will have the blood of your people on your hands” if he joins an American alliance to fight the militants.

Mr. Henning is believed to have been seized when fighters loyal to ISIS overran the town of Ad Dana, where he was working with refugees.

He was thrown into a makeshift prison, and initially thought his work for a Muslim charity would save him.

A Syrian activist told a reporter earlier this year that he had spent a night in the same cell, and Mr. Henning had seemed in good spirits, believing he was about to be freed.

However, the activist, who later escaped, found Mr. Henning had later been moved to Raqqa, the city considered the capital of ISIS.

Friends of Mr. Henning, from Eccles, described him as a “lovely guy” who had been moved to act by the plight of children caught in the war.

A close friend said: “He was taking over old ambulances, just helping out as much as he could.

“They were supposed to be over there for about six months but he was kidnapped just a few days after he left.”

His wife, Barbara, had been told he was being well treated. The friend said: “He had his own mattress because the militant guys knew he was over there doing good.

“He started taking all this Syria stuff seriously when the war started. It was the fourth time he’d gone out there. He had a tattoo saying Aid 4 Syria on his arm. I think he thought it was his mission to help the kids out there.”

Debbie Ashton, 47, a neighbour, described him as a “lovely guy.” She said: “We used to call him ’Gadget’ because he loved all his electronic stuff.

“He was always asking us if we knew anyone who was throwing their clothes away. He was just trying to help out. He took clothes, bedding, shoes. Everyone used to drop it all off at his house.

“He was really emotional about it all and he used to say those kids need all the help they can get.”

Activists and aid workers who knew Mr. Henning paid tribute to him.

One said he was “the best of the best.”

Another wrote on Twitter: “He sacrificed his fishing holidays, his Christmas at home, his work holidays specifically to come on aid convoys.”

 

www.shafaqna.com/English

 

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