A Hoosier native held captive by ISIS for over a year has been killed.
Government officials confirmed the authenticity of an online video released by ISIS proclaiming the murder of Hoosier native Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
Kassig, who was formerly known as Peter Edward until his conversion to Islam while in captivity, was abducted in October 2013 while providing medical aid to Syrian refugees in the region.
The released video differs greatly from previous videos showing the murders of U.S. and British nationals held by ISIS. In earlier videos the captives were forced to give a final statement before the proof of their beheading was shown. The latest video simply shows a hooded ISIS member claiming the head at his feet is that of Kassig. No final statement was given. The video also shows the brutal killings of numerous captured Syrian soldiers.
Kassig’s parents released the following statement to the media:
“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.”
The family’s statement is also posted on a Facebook page that was dedicated to telling Kassig’s story of his humanitarian mission in Syria and the plea for his safe release.
U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly issued this statement:
“My family and I are heartbroken for Paula and Ed Kassig. As a parent, I can think of no greater tragedy than losing a child. Abdul-Rahman (Peter) dedicated himself to providing medical assistance to Syrian refugees, and he will be remembered as someone who made extraordinary sacrifices to assist others in need. We are incredibly proud of Abdul-Rahman’s humanitarian work. I ask all Hoosiers to join me and my family as we continue to pray for the Kassig family and keep them in our thoughts as they mourn the loss of their son.”
Governor Mike Pence issued this statement:
"Today, all of Indiana mourns the tragic loss of an inspiring Hoosier and heroic American, Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig. The murder of Indiana's Abdul-Rahman Kassig at the hands of ISIS terrorists is an unspeakable act of barbarism and a tragedy that will be deeply felt by all the people of our state for many years to come.
“Abdul-Rahman Kassig was one of us and he was the best of us. He was a lifelong Hoosier who was admired by all as a loving son, a dedicated student, an Army Ranger, and a compassionate humanitarian who risked his life to render medical aid to refugees in Syria and Lebanon. Karen and I offer our deepest condolences and prayers for this courageous young man, his loving family and friends during this time of heartbreak and loss. Indiana will never forget the service, compassion and sacrifice of Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig.”
Gov. Pence also declared an official period of mourning that begins Monday, Nov. 17 at sunrise. All flags at state buildings in Indiana will be lowered during the mourning period.