(CNN) – The video, like the others before it, is grotesque and disturbing. The beheading by ‘ISIS’ of American Peter Kassig is presided over by a militant we’ve come to know as ‘Jihadi John’.
“This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen of your country; Peter, who fought against the Muslims while serving as a soldier under the American army.”
However, there are strong differences between this video and those depicting the killings of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British citizens Alan Henning and David Haines. This time: no orange jumpsuit, no buildup to the killing.
Aki Peritz, a former CIA officer, said, “They unfortunately show the head of the victim, but they don’t have him give a speech. They don’t actually show his execution. And they don’t let you know that there’s another hostage to be murdered.”
A U.S. intelligence official told CNN, ‘they believe ISIS does have additional hostages.’ So why is this video different? Peritz, who analyzed every beheading video during the Iraq war for the CIA, said the depictions of Kassig suggest this video might have been hastily put together.
“Things, chances are, went wrong with this execution. Maybe the victim couldn’t actually give a good speech, therefore they couldn’t use it. Maybe they accidentally killed him during the production process and they didn’t want to show it. The victim could have resisted prior to actually shooting this, and they might have murdered him then.”
The video has a horrific feature not seen before; ISIS shows the man intelligence sources believe is ‘Jihadi John’ and others in detail, too graphic to show, beheading more than a dozen men. The militants claim they’re Syrian pilots. It’s the first time ‘Jihadi John’ is seen apparently killing someone.
Haras Rafiq of the Quilliam Foundation said, “It was also a sign of desperation, because Isil are really suffering. They’re a bit like an animal sort of caged into a corner. Where they’ve got no response to the airstrikes- the airstrikes and the coalition effort is really hurting them.”
After the beheadings, the faces of the killers are brazenly shown. Analysts say there’s a message there too. Rafiq said, “They were trying to show that this was almost United Nations of Jihadis. This was Jihadis that were carrying out these beheadings from different places around the world.”
In the portion of the video depicting Kassig’s death, unlike in previous beheading videos, they don’t seem to try to hide where they are. They show distinct buildings, roads and fields, and they label the place ‘Dabiq’.
That’s a town in Syria, very symbolic, where the Ottoman Empire won a historic battle, opening the region up to Muslim conquest.