BEIRUT – Islamic State militants beheaded a Lebanese soldier who was one of 19 captured by hard-line Syrian Islamists when they seized a Lebanese border town for a few days in August, a video posted on social media showed on Saturday.
The soldier, recognizable as Ali al-Sayyed, a Sunni Muslim from north Lebanon, was shown blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back, writhing and kicking the dusty ground while a militant announces he will be killed. Another militant then beheads him.
The Islamic State group, which declared a “caliphate” in June in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control, has been cited as a major security threat by Western governments since posting a video in August of the beheading of U.S journalist James Foley.
The Lebanese army declined to comment, but security and Islamic State sources confirmed the latest beheading.
Hours later, the group posted a second video showing nine other soldiers begging for their lives, urging their families to take to the streets in the next three days to demand the release of Islamist prisoners as a condition to escape al-Sayyed’s fate.
Earlier in August, several Syrian groups, including the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, battled the Lebanese Army after the arrest of rebel commander Emad Gomaa in the border town of Arsal. Gomaa is a Nusra Front commander who switched affiliation to Islamic State but remained popular among Nusra Front fighters.
The militants seized Arsal for five days before withdrawing to a mountainous border region, taking the 19 captive soldiers with them.
Most of the soldiers were taken by Islamic State militants while the Nusra Front kept a few soldiers and a number of policemen.
On Saturday, the Nusra Front released four soldiers and a policeman, all Sunnis, a source close to the group said. The circumstances of their release were not immediately clear.
The militants have demanded the release of Gomaa and several Islamists jailed since a 2007 insurrection by an al-Qaida-inspired group at a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon.
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