A family-released photo shows Peter Kassig in front of a truck somewhere along the Syrian border between late 2012 and autumn 2013. AFP Photo/ Kassig Family handout
The news agency AFP reported on Monday that “known foreign fighters, including at least one Frenchman and possibly a Briton, an Australian and a Dane” appeared in a graphic 16-minute Isis video released over the weekend that showed the beheading of at least 18 Syrian soldiers and the severed head of American aid worker Peter Kassig.
But a well-respected Danish Middle East expert has suggested that a common mix-up may be behind the report.
Naser Khader, a former MP and current senior fellow at the Washington DC-based Hudson Institute, told Jyllands-Posten that he has spoken with AFP’s source, Aymenn al-Tamimi, and received different information.
“He is sure that a Frenchman, a Brit and an Australian were involved and he said that there could have been a Dutch citizen as well. ‘Dutch’ has possibly become ‘Danish’,” Khader told Jyllands-Posten.
“He didn’t say there was a Dane involved, although you cannot rule it out,” he added.
See also: Danish jihadist poses with severed heads
Neither the domestic intelligence agency PET or the Foreign Ministry have commented on the report that a Dane was involved.
Khader said that even if this report turns out to be untrue, it may be just a matter of time until a Dane is definitively involved in an Isis propaganda video.
“It has been proven that they choose different nationalities – primarily Western – in order to recruit even more. It’s to send a signal that ‘we are like you, come and fight with us’,” he said.
French authorities confirmed on Monday that a French national can be seen among the Isis militants who beheaded at least 18 Syrian soldiers in a gruesome video.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve identified the man as 22-year-old Maxime Hauchar from Normandy in northwestern France, adding that the suspect "left for Syria in August 2013 after a short stay in Mauritania in 2012".
The Islamist group's video shows the beheading of at least 18 Syrian soldiers and the severed head of 26-year-old Kassig, who was abducted in Syria on October 1st, 2013. US President Barack Obama confirmed Kassig's death on Sunday, calling it "an act of pure evil".