March 11, 2015
Foreign hostages captured by Islamic State were subjected to numerous mock beheadings and were unaware they were about be killed, a former member of the jihadi group has said, offering an apparent explanation for why they seem so calm when reading statements to camera. A former translator, “Saleh”, said in an interview with Sky News that he was employed by the group to convince foreign hostages they were safe, before they were killed in videos featuring Mohammed Emwazi, the 26-year-old radical known as “Jihadi John”. Hostages such as the US journalist James Foley and the British aid worker Alan Henning appeared unafraid when they read messages on camera moments before they were murdered.
Speaking to Sky News from Turkey, Saleh said Emwazi ordered him to reassure the captives. “He would say to me ‘say to them, no problem, only video, we don’t kill you, we want from your government [to] stop attacking Syria. We don’t have any problem with you; you are only our visitors’.