Daniel Boffey, theguardian
Militants with the Islamic State jihadi group have released a video that appears to show the beheading of a British hostage, David Haines, an aid worker who was captured just days after he arrived in Syria last year.
British government officials were seeking to authenticate the video which purported to show the final moments of Haines, who was 44.
In the video, entitled A Message to the Allies of America, a masked man is shown carrying out the beheading of Haines, whose life had earlier been threatened in a film showing the murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff. The video, which runs to two minutes and 28 seconds, ends with a warning that a second British hostage would be the next to die.
Haines is the third western hostage and the first Briton to be killed in this fashion by the Islamic State (Isis) – the first, US journalist James Foley, was murdered in a video released on 19 August.
The British prime minister, David Cameron, issued a statement denouncing the killing. “This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to the family of David Haines who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude throughout this ordeal.
“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.”
The US president, Barack Obama, also condemned the killing. “The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group Isil,” he said, using his administration’s preferred acronym for Isis. “Our hearts go out to the family of Mr Haines and to the people of the United Kingdom.