David Haines Isis beheading video: 'Now is the time for retribution' – calls grow for David Cameron to take fight to Islamic State

The video also included a threat to murder a second British hostage

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The Independent Online

The release of a video showing the murder of the British aid worker David Haines - and the threat to behead another British hostage - is expected to increase pressure on David Cameron to take the pursuit of the Islamic State (Isis) into Syria.

Mr Cameron was meeting with senior security aides on Sunday morning after the emergence of the footage on Saturday night, and will make a further statement later today.

But senior military figures said it was vital for Mr Cameron not to be “cowed” by the murder, and an explicit claim in the Isis video that he was personally responsible for Mr Haines’ death.

Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: “Having worked in British Government on hostage rescue I know how much effort has gone in to saving David Haines. Now is the time for retribution.”

Former head of the Army Lord Dannatt said the UK should respond by playing its role in the assault against Isis promised by US President Barack Obama.

“What we absolutely need to do is not be cowed in any way by yet another foul murder of a hostage,” he told Sky News.

“But to develop the strategy into a sensible military campaign in coalition with regional players such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries in the area.

“We can support them to confront, attack and defeat the Islamic State jihadi fighters ... and make sure this cancer is removed from the region before it spreads more widely.”

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Sky News footage showed David Cameron arriving back at Downing Street after the footage emerged late on Saturday night

In separate statements, both Mr Cameron and Mr Obama condemned the killing and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Prime Minister said: “This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil.

“My heart goes out to the family of David Haines who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude throughout this ordeal.

“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.”

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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (R) arrives for a meeting of the emergency response committee, Cobra, in Downing Street on Sunday morning

And Mr Obama, who recently announced moves to target Isis in Syria, said: “The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group Isil (Isis).

“Our hearts go out to the family of Mr Haines and to the people of the United Kingdom. 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.”

Mr Cameron returned to Downing Street shortly after midnight and is chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee this morning.

The news came hours after the family of Mr Haines issued a plea to his captors to contact them.

The video begins with an interview clip of the Prime Minister and then features Mr Haines dressed in orange overalls and kneeling down in front of a man holding a knife in what appears to be a desert location.

The victim looks into the camera and says: “My name is David Cawthorne Haines. I would like to declare that I hold you David Cameron entirely responsible for my execution.

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Barack Obama vows to target the Islamic State with air strikes 'wherever they exist'

“You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State just as your predecessor Tony Blair did, following a trend against our British prime ministers who can't find the courage to say no to the Americans.

“Unfortunately it is we the British public that in the end will pay the price for our Parliament's selfish decisions.”

The militant, who appears to have a British accent, then says: “This British man has to the pay the price for your promise, Cameron, to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State.”

The video then shows the man take a knife to Mr Haines' throat, before the victim's dead body is shown.

The militant adds: “If you, Cameron, persist in fighting the Islamic State then you like your master Obama will have the blood of your people on your hands.”