In a statement issued by Ed and Paula Kassig, parents to Peter Kassig who has been held by Islamic State militants since October 2013, the parents write:
“We are aware of the news reports being circulated about our treasured son and are waiting for confirmation from the government as to the authenticity of these reports. We will have no other statement at this time and ask that you please respect our privacy.
“The family respectfully asks that the news media avoid playing into the hostage takers’ hands and refrain from publishing or broadcasting photographs or video distributed by the hostage takers. We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause.”
Islamic State militants released a video Sunday, November 17, 2014 of the purported beheading of Peter Kassig, age 26 and founder of the Special Emergency Response and Assistance Program, an aide group supporting Syrian refugees. Prior to Mr. Kassig’s aide work in Syria, he served as a U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment, a special operations unit which the army describes as a “premier light infantry force, specializing in raids and assault missions deep inside enemy territory” and engaged in “intelligence gathering activities”.
Mr. Kassig’s beheading will be the fifth reported beheading by IS, which began with the beheading of journalist James Foley in August 2014.