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Defector warns of more Islamic State butchery

By Andrew Woodcock

The so-called Islamic State would respond to any intensification of Western air strikes by beheading more hostages, a man who claims to have defected from the terror group has warned.

The unnamed man – whose identity could not be independently verified – said the West was "stupid" in its outraged responses to IS's actions, which he said only encouraged the group to carry out more atrocities.

He said that the UK national nicknamed 'jihadi John' was chosen to carry out the murders of British aid worker David Haines and two US journalists in order to "send a message" to Britain, which IS leaders believe may join the US in military action. And he said other Britons were working through the internet to recruit more Westerners.

The man's comments were broadcast by BBC Radio 4's World At One, which said he told its reporter he was a Syrian fighting with another opposition group when the city of Raqqa was taken by IS. He joined up and was impressed by the extremists' efficiency and the "five-star lifestyle" they delivered their supporters, but decided to leave when he became disgusted by their brutality.

Speaking through a translator, the man told World At One: "It is clear that the West are stupid. Whenever IS does something and the West gives speeches against it, IS becomes more determined to do similar things.

"IS is keen to plant its thought, its ideology in the minds of people. Even if it loses certain territory, it will be happy if only three or four people have been left in these territories believing in its ideology. If air raids intensify in Iraq and Syria, there will be more hostages beheaded."

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