Frenchman in Islamic State beheading video

Jihadist (22) had said his goal in joining IS was to be a martyr

Paris public prosecutor François Molins, who confirmed  French citizen Maxime Hauchard had been identified as one of the jihadists in a new beheading video released by the Islamic State. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

Paris public prosecutor François Molins, who confirmed French citizen Maxime Hauchard had been identified as one of the jihadists in a new beheading video released by the Islamic State. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

 

A Frenchman is believed to have appeared in a video of Islamic State jihadists beheading Syrian soldiers and displaying the severed head of US aid worker Peter Kassig, but a British man denied earlier reports that his medical student son was there too.

Sunday’s announcement of Mr Kassig’s death, the fifth such killing of a western captive by Islamic State, formed part of the video, which also showed the beheadings of at least 14 men Islamic State (IS) said were Syrian military pilots and officers.

Execution site

“This analysis suggests with a very high probability that a French citizen could have directly participated in carrying out these abject acts,” Bernard Cazeneuve said.

French judges last year opened a preliminary investigation against Mr Hauchard on suspicion that he was conspiring to commit terrorist acts, the charge commonly levied against citizens who have fought with Islamist militants.

In an interview with French TV in the summer, Mr Hauchard said his goal in joining IS was to become a martyr.

Briton Ahmed Muthana was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that his 20-year-old son, Nasser Muthana, appeared to be among the group of jihadists seen in the video.

“I cannot be certain, but it looks like my son,” Ahmed Muthana was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

But speaking to reporters on Monday outside his house in Cardiff, he said: “That is not my son, the nose is different, it does not look like my son.”

British prime minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the UK government’s emergency response committee, Cobra, in the next 36 hours to receive briefing from intelligence and security officials in light of the latest video, his spokesman said. – (Reuters)