Bulgarian Beheading Photo

Reuters – Picture of Bulgarian’s Severed Head Posted on Net

An al Qaeda-linked group in Iraq posted a picture of what it said was the severed head of a Bulgarian hostage on the Internet on Wednesday. The picture showed a masked man holding up a bloody head in front of a black flag of the Tawhid and Jihad Group led by suspected al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The group kidnapped two Bulgarians in early July. It later sent a video to Al Jazeera showing one of them being beheaded, which the Arab television network said was too gruesome to broadcast. Truck drivers Georgi Lazov, 30, and Ivailo Kepov, 32, were seized as they delivered cars to northern Iraq.

Last week, Bulgarian authorities identified a headless corpse found in the Tigris river as that of Lazov. Diplomats say Kepov is also almost certainly dead. Another head and decapitated body have been found in the same area but have still to be identified. It could not be immediately confirmed whether the picture posted on the Internet on Wednesday was one of the Bulgarians.

Rusty Shackleford has a copy of the photo on his site, with various disclaimers about how gruesome it is and why it’s important that you see it. More interesting to me is his compilation of victims, whose names do tend to run together:

1) Georgi Lazov (July 13)
2) Ivaylo Kepov (presumed dead) (probably July 14)
3) Keith M. Maupin (June 28)
4) Kim Sun-il (June 22)
5) Paul Johnson (June 18)
6) Hussein Ali Alyan (June 12)
7) Nick Berg (May 12)
8) Fabrizio Quattrocchi (April 16)
9) Martin Burnham (June 7, 2002)
10) Daniel Pearl (Feb. 2, 2002)

Indeed, a couple of the names are unfamiliar to me.

Jeff Quinton and Chris Short have coverage as well.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jem says:

    Martin Burnham was shot, not beheaded…and quite possibly by Philippine troops (Scout Rangers) attempting to rescue him and his wife from an Abu Sayyaf Group cell moving through the jungle north of Zamboanga on Mindanao Island.