The Islamic State terror group identified its next target on Friday, a former U.S. Army Ranger who was captured in Lebanon last year during a relief mission to help Syrian refugees.
Peter Edward Kassig, 26, first visited Beirut on a college spring break trip. What the Indiana native saw there prompted him to return, the next time as a medical assistant and humanitarian worker hoping to offer blankets, food and medical care to victims of the region’s conflicts.
Kassig founded a nongovernmental organization that provided aid for refugees fleeing the civil war in neighboring Syria. But his work in Lebanon led to his capture by militants on Oct. 1, 2013, while en route to eastern Syria.
Kassig appeared in an online video that purported to show a masked militant who threatened to behead the Army veteran next, after the apparent beheading of British hostage Alan Henning. The gruesome video was released in the same manner as other Islamic State group recordings and the masked militant sounded similar to the one who carried out other slayings.
In a statement issued Friday evening, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed that Kassig was being held by Islamic State militants.