The Islamic State released a video Wednesday showing the beheading of a man whom the terrorist group identified as a Russian spy, international media reported.
If authentic, the footage would be the first video of a Russian citizen being murdered by the terrorist group.
The video, titled “You Shall be Disappointed and Humiliated O Russians,” shows a prisoner kneeling in front of a militant who holds a knife. The prisoner identified himself as Magomed Khasiyev, a Russian citizen from Russia's republic of Chechnya, NBC reported.
The executioner, who is not wearing a mask, speaks in Russian and says Moscow's air strikes in Syria “have done nothing but kill peaceful Muslims,” according to NBC.
The video claims the prisoner had joined Islamic State forces, but the terrorist organization found him to be a Russian spy, the report said.
The Interfax news agency later quoted an unnamed security source as saying that the victim's links to Russia's special forces were “doubtful.”
“[If Khasiyev had indeed been a spy, he] would definitely have been used in negotiations of some kind, which would bring the terrorists more benefits than an outright killing”, the source was quoted as saying in a report posted Thursday.
“Apart from this … the bandits should have presented at least some evidence, however primitive, such as having the supposed spy identify himself, his employers, the unit in which he served, etc. There are plenty of deviant elements, including from Russia, who have been captured by ISIS … and can easily be used in show executions,”, they added. The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, confirmed that the prisoner was Chechen, and vowed revenge on his executioners, the RBC news portal reported Thursday.
“Chechens have a good memory … and we will not let this slide. Those who murdered a citizen of our republic and threaten its safety will not have a long life,”, Kadyrov was quoted as saying.
He added that he doubted that Khasiyev had been a jihadist and had joined the ranks of IS, RBC wrote.
Russia began its air strikes in Syria on Sept. 30, saying the campaign was targeting Islamic State and other terror groups. But Western governments have accused Russia of using the air campaign to prop up the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad by targeting his political opponents.
Moscow's air strikes intensified after the downing of a Russian passenger airplane over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the downing that killed all 224 people aboard, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to punish those responsible.
Islamic State is a terrorist group banned in Russia.
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