President Obama late Saturday vowed once again to destroy the Islamic State after the terrorist group released a video purporting to show the beheading of British aid worker David Haines — the third such video in less than a month.
Haines, 44, was kidnapped in Syria last year while working for an international aid agency. His abduction had been kept secret by the British government, but Haines was identified last month by the Islamic State on a video that showed the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
After Sotloff’s beheading was shown on camera, militants warned Haines would be next.
With the Islamic State — also known as ISIL or ISIS — having apparently made good on that threat, Mr. Obama doubled down on his pledge to dismantle the organization.
“The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group ISIL. 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,” the president said. “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.”
The apparent murder comes just three days after the president rolled out a new long-term strategy to dismantle the Islamic State through air strikes and by arming and training Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.
The terrorist organization, estimated to now have as many as 30,000 fighters in its ranks, controls large swathes of territory across both Iraq and Syria and has slaughtered Christians and other religious minorities, in addition to essentially declaring war on the U.S. and Britain.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also condemned the murder of Haines and said the killers will face justice.
“It is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to the family of David Haines,” Mr. Cameron said. “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice.”
Haines is the third man the militants have beheaded on camera.
In addition to killing Sotloff earlier this month, Islamic State fighters murdered U.S. photojournalist James Foley on Aug. 19.
Each video follows roughly the same format. The captive is always shown kneeling in an orange jumpsuit, alongside an Islamic State fighter holding a knife.
Foley, Sotloff and Haines each were made to blame their death on their own government. Haines, for example, said on camera that “I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution,” according to the BBC.
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports