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  • Alan Henning appears in an Islamic State Group video moments before his heading (Photo: Reuters).

    Alan Henning appears in an Islamic State Group video moments before his heading (Photo: Reuters).

Published 4 October 2014

The beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning has caused horror, along with warnings from family members that it could have been prevented.

On Friday, Islamic State Group militants said they beheaded Alan Henning, a British Aid worker. Friends, family and world leaders have reacted to his death expressing shock and disbelief. Henning, 47-year-old former taxi driver from Salford, was kidnapped in December in Syria by IS militants.

Barbara Henning, Alan's wife, released a statement following the release of the one-minute video recording announcing Henning's death. She expressed her family's devastation after learning "the news we hoped we would never hear." She defined her family's current state as "numb with grief." Henning's brother-in-law, Colin Livesey insists that the British government could have made greater efforts to save him.

According to BBC interviews with Henning's friends and fellow aid workers, they similarly voiced their shock as they urged the government to help Henning. In one case, aid worker, Majid Freeman explained, “the government did nothing to help him. Instead they voted for air strikes, which may well have sealed his fate.” 

The U.K. Foreign Office denounced the murder as did coalition ally U.S. President Barack Obama.The United Nations Security Council president, Argentine Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, also condemned the video, calling the beheading a "heinous and cowardly murder." 

The IS video claiming to be Henning's beheading opens with a statement from him, dressed in an orange jumpsuit. “I am Alan Henning. Because of our Parliament’s decision to attack the Islamic state, I, as a member of the British public, will now pay the price for that decision,” he says. In the video, IS suggests that U.S. aid worker, Peter Edward Kassig, a former U.S. army ranger, may be next.

If IS claims are accurate, this would be the fourth such beheading since the IS group has conquored significant territory in Iraq and in Syria. The previous executions were of one other Briton and of two U.S. citizens. 

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