The Islamic State released another graphic video Thursday, this one claiming to show the beheading of a Kurdish peshmerga fighter in Mosul, Iraq. The video is disturbingly similar – down to the color of the victim’s clothing - to the militants' “Message To America” video in which they claim to behead American journalist James Foley.
The video was posted on YouTube and is translated into Kurdish instead of English, clearly targeting a different audience this time. It’s called a “Message To Barzani,” referring to Massoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. ISIS militants warn Barzani that he has “made a big mistake by joining hands with America,” and threatened to behead the other 14 peshmerga fighters it has captured.
Well-lit and professionally produced, like the Foley video, this one uses the Grand Mosque of Mosul as a backdrop. The mosque is where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to have made a very rare public sermon earlier this summer.
Captured pershmerga fighters are shown at the beginning standing in a room, all wearing orange jumpsuits similar to Foley’s, with a black ISIS flag in between them. Hassan Mohamed Hashin, one of the captured fighters, speaks directly to Kurdish leaders, denouncing their alliance with the U.S. in Erbil.
One fighter is chosen and shown kneeling down with three gun-wielding ISIS militants around him. Holding a knife, one militant grabs the captured solider by the hair while a split screen shows images of President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaking and shaking hands with Kurdish leaders. The militant then makes a move to stab the Kurd in the neck. The video then skips to a shot of beheaded body in the same position in which the group displayed Foley's body.
This second beheading is another ISIS response to the U.S. airstrikes on the militants’ strongholds in Iraq. The militant group has threatened more beheadings if the strikes are not called off.
About an hour after the video was released, Obama said in a White House news conference that “because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back. And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.”