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US hostage's family in video appeal

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A militant has threatened to behead former American soldier Peter Kassig

A militant has threatened to behead former American soldier Peter Kassig

A militant has threatened to behead former American soldier Peter Kassig

The parents of an Indiana man threatened with beheading by the Islamic State group are pleading with their son's captors to free him.

Ed and Paula Kassig released their video message a day after a video from the Islamic State group threatened to behead 26-year-old Peter Kassig.

Ed Kassig said his son was taken captive on October 1 2013 in Syria, where he was providing aid for refugees fleeing the country's civil war through an organisation he founded.

He said the former Army Ranger grew up in an Indianapolis family with a long history of humanitarian work.

Mrs Kassig holds a photo of her son in the video and says: "We implore those who are holding you to show mercy and use their power to let you go."

In the family's video, Mr Kassig says his son, who now goes by the first name Abdul-Rahman after converting to Islam during his captivity, has grown "to love and admire" the Syrian people.

"Our son was living his life according to that same humanitarian call when he was taken captive," says Mr Kassig, a teacher.

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The family said Mr Kassig formed the aid organisation Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA, in Turkey to provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees.

He began delivering food and medical supplies to Syrian refugee camps in 2012 and is also a trained medical assistant who provided trauma care to injured Syrian civilians and helped train 150 civilians in providing medical aid.

His work in Lebanon led to his capture when he crossed the border into Syria. After than, SERA suspended its aid efforts.

Mrs Kassig, a nurse, sits next to her husband on a couch in the couple's three-minute video, wearing a head scarf and holding a photo of her son as she speaks directly to him.

"Most of all, know that we love you, and our hearts ache for you to be granted your freedom so we can hug you again and then set you free to continue the life you have chosen, the life of service to those in greatest need," she says. "We implore those who are holding you to show mercy and use their power to let you go."

The family said Mr Kassig served in the Army from 2006 to 2007. He was a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and served four months in Iraq in 2007 before being medically discharged at the rank of private first class in September of that year, his military record shows.

Mr Kassig focused on humanitarian work after leaving the military. While attending Indianapolis' Butler University, he worked to help refugees from Myanmar who had resettled in central Indiana, said family spokeswoman Jodi Perras.


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