A video purporting to show the execution of five alleged British spies orchestrated by a masked man with an English accent who threatens David Cameron over air strikes in Syria has been released by the Isis terror group.
The ten-minute film appeared to be an attempt by Isis’s propaganda arm to unveil a new media figurehead copying the style of Mohammed Emwazi, the British graduate who conducted the beheadings of at least six hostages on camera and became notorious as “Jihadi John”.
The new video shows five Arabic-speaking men supposedly confessing to having been recruited by British intelligence before switching to the unidentified man speaking with a distinct English accent as he delivers a lecture attacking Mr Cameron and threatening Britain as he waves a black pistol at the camera.
The man, whose face and head is swathed in a black scarf leaving only his eyes visible in a style similar to Emwazi, then shoots one of the five men from behind as they are made to kneel in orange jumpsuits in an unknown desert location. Four more masked gunmen then kill the remaining captives.
Dressed in a camouflage jacket and appearing to rehearse a memorised script, the man called the Prime Minister the “slave of the White House” and refers to Britain as a “small island” that “threatens us with a handful of planes”.
He continued: “Only an imbecile would dare to anger to a people who love death the way that you love your life. Oh British government, oh people of Britain, know that today your citizenship is under our feet and that the Islamic State, our country, is here to stay.”
The unverified video concludes by showing a young child, also dressed in camouflage clothing and wearing a jihadist headscarf, pointing into the distance as he says, again with an apparent British accent: “We will kill the kuffar [unbelievers] right over there.”
If proved genuine, the footage will be the subject of intensive efforts by the intelligence services and Scotland Yard to establish the identity of the British-accented killer and potentially make him the target of a further assassination by drone strike. Analysts used sophisticated voice recognition software and close analysis of the footage from Emwazi’s videos to gain information - from his ethnicity to whether he was left or right handed - as part of efforts to identify the masked executioner.
Emwazi, a Kuwait-born IT worker, was killed in November by an American drone strike following a manhunt by American and British spying agencies to track him down in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the terror group’s nerve centre.
He was a member of a group of four Isis jailers who were dubbed “the Beatles” by some of their surviving captives because they spoke with English accents. Speaking after his death, Mr Cameron said the extra-judicial killing of Emwazi had been an “act of self-defence”.
It was not clear whether the new figurehead was recruited from within “the Beatles” or is a new recruit to the terror group’s execution squads from the estimated 700 Britons who have travelled to Syria to support or fight for Isis.
The organisation’s propaganda arm, which is adept at making videos with high production values aimed at western audiences, was reported last month to have been conducting “auditions” to find a replacement for Emwazi.
The use of a citizen from the same country that Isis wishes to target as a spokesman in its messages is a tried and tested tactic of the group. Earlier this month it released a video of a Russian-speaking man who addressed President Vladimir Putin before proceeding to behead a captive claimed to be spy for Moscow.
In the new video aimed at Britain, Isis claims that the five men had been recruited in Turkey by British intelligence to spy on the group in Raqqa. Each man is shown giving his name and “confessing” to espionage in return for payment.
The British-accented man then proceeds to issue a succession of formulaic threats, including the desire to “one day” invade Britain and impose Sharia law. He added: “As for those of who wish to continue fighting under the banner of Cameron on the minimum wage, we say to you to ask yourself do you really think your government will care about you when you come into our hands? Or will they abandon you as they have abandoned these spies and those who came before them?”
The Foreign Office said it was aware of the video and was taking seriously its contents. The Metropolitan Police has so far declined to comment.
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