INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man appears to be the next target of Islamic extremist group Islamic State.
CBS and the Associated Press report that in a video released online, Islamic State beheaded British hostage Alan Henning and identified Peter Kassig as its next target.
Kassig, 26, is a military veteran who was living in Beirut. Butler University confirms he was a student there from 2011 to 2012.
The Kassig family released this statement Friday:
“The Kassig family extends our concern for the family of Alan Henning. We have read about his work and his generous character with great respect and admiration. We ask everyone around the world to pray for the Henning family, for our son, and for the release of all innocent people being held hostage in the Middle East and around the globe.”
In 2012, Kassig spoke to CNN about working in a Beirut, Lebanon hospital. The story explains that Kassig was an Army Ranger deployed to Iraq in 2007. After a medical discharge, he went back to school but didn’t feel right. He wanted to do more, so he got his emergency medical technician certification and eventually ended up in Beirut.
According to 24-Hour News 8’s sources, the Department of Homeland Security had known that Kassig was possibly being held by Islamic State.
Butler University released this statement Friday:
Peter Kassig was a student at Butler University from 2010 to 2012, majoring in political science. Since his time at Butler, Peter has dedicated his life to humanitarian work in the Middle East. The thoughts and prayers of the Butler University community are with Peter and his family.
Kassig was working on a project for the non-governmental organization he founded, SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance), when he was detained on October 1, 2013, on his way to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.
SERA was dedicated to providing first-response humanitarian aid for refugees fleeing the widening civil war in Syria. Kassig sourced and delivered food and medical supplies to the growing camps on both sides of the Syrian border. He also provided primary trauma care and trauma care training to civilian casualties inside Syria.
His family said they maintained silence over the past year at the request of their son’s captors. The family says they have worked “tirelessly and quietly” to get their son back home.
On Friday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement regarding Kassig:
Our prayers are with Peter Kassig and his family during this unspeakably difficult time. I urge all Hoosiers to keep this compassionate young man and those who know and love him in their thoughts and prayers.