Report: Al-Qaida Asked Islamic State to Release U.K. Charity Worker Henning

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Islamic State members wave IS flags as they drive around Raqqa in north-central Syria on June 29, 2014.Credit: Reuters

Al-Qaida asked Islamic State to release the British charity worker Alan Henning, whom IS has threatened to make its fourth western victim of a public killing, a media report says.

The U.K. Independent reported that it spoke with Bilal Abdul Kareem, a U.S. filmmaker who has reported extensively from Syria.

Kareem told the paper that a local commander of the al-Qaida affiliate Nusra met with IS on December 30, 2013, four days after Henning was taken.

The Nusra commander told IS that it had no right to take Henning, Kareem told the paper. An IS commander responded that IS suspected Henning was a spy, Kareem said on his own blog, the Independent reported.

Henning, a 47-year-old taxi driver, had traveled to Syria, missing Christmas with his family, to help distribute medical equipment to refugees, the paper reported.

Islamic State, which aims to form a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, has beheaded three westerners, the U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and the British aid worker David Haines. It has publicized the killings over the Internet. After killing Haines in a video released September 14, the IS attacker threatened Henning.

The paper quoted two experts in radical political ideology as saying that al-Qaeda has been criticizing Islamic State, and that while the underlying ideologies of the two groups are similar, al-Qaida believes that the Islamic State approach will deter supporters and recruits. 

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