Peter Kassig death: David Cameron condemns Isis video showing the 'savage murder of a compassionate man'

PM describes graphic new footage as the work of a 'depraved organisation'

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David Cameron led an outpouring of condemnation of Isis yesterday following the “cold blooded murder” of “selfless humanitarian worker” Peter Kassig.

The Prime Minister said he was “horrified” after a video was released yesterday apparently showing the beheading of the US aid worker.

The militant group, also known as Isil or the Islamic State, released the graphic video claiming to show the remains of Peter Kassig via social media this morning.

The footage also includes the mass beheading of around 16 men claimed to be Syrian army officers and pilots, in one of the most brutal media releases from the group to date.

US intelligence officers are working to establish the authenticity of the video, but the National Security Council has offered its condolences to Mr Kassig’s family.

Reacting to news of the video and using the name Mr Kassig took on following his conversion to Islam while in captivity, Mr Cameron said: “These beheadings show once again what a depraved organisation this is.

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David Cameron addresses the media at a press conference at the conclusion of the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, Australia

“Like others who have been murdered in cold blood by Isil, Abdul-Rahman Kassig was a selfless humanitarian worker who had gone to the region to help care for those fleeing the Syrian conflict.

“This underlines the deplorable depths to which these terrorists are prepared to go - savagely murdering a compassionate man.”

The Prime Minister added that his “heart goes out” to Mr Kassig’s family.

Douglas Alexander, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary, said all will feel “revulsion” if the video proved to be genuine, while the former prime minister John Major described the latest murder as “13th-century barbarism”.

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the murder “once again shows us that these people are acting outside the norms of Islam. Our prayers are with Mr Kassig and our thoughts are with his family”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the former Prime Minister Sir John Major said Mr Kassig’s murder was an act of “13th-century barbarism”.

He said: “The people [Isis] are murdering, which makes it doubly worse, triply worse, are people who actually went there to help those in difficulty and in need.

“They are being murdered in the most brutal ways, almost beyond belief.”

The Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “My deepest sympathies go to the family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig today. These brutal killers must face justice.

“I am sickened by the senseless murder of a man who had dedicated his life to helping others.”

The release of the video followed a report in the Mail on Sunday that “Jihadi John” was almost killed after being injured in a US-led air raid on a meeting of the group’s leaders on 8 November.

The video came as the former home secretary David Blunkett called for more action from Gulf States to prevent the financing of Isis. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Blunkett said states such as Qatar and Kuwait were “oiling the wheels of terrorism” by refusing to stop those who send “vast sums of money” to terrorist organisations.

Charlie Winter, a researcher for the counter-extremism thinktank Quilliam, said the graphic nature of the latest video showed Isis had “surpassed itself in brutality”.

Former army chief General Lord Dannatt said British combat troops could be required to fight in Iraq to eradicate Isis. Speaking to Sky News, he said the killing of Mr Kassig proved that “more concerted action” was needed.

In a statement, Mr Kassig’s family said that while they awaited confirmation from the US government, they would like their son to be “remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family”.

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