Terrorists Apologize For Beheading The Wrong Person

Apparently, everyone has their own version of a bad day at the office:

Militant Islamist rebels in Syria linked to al-Qaeda have asked for “understanding and forgiveness” for cutting off and putting on display the wrong man’s head.

In a public appearance filmed and posted online, members of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, one brandishing a knife, held up a bearded head before a crowd in Aleppo. They triumphantly described the execution of what they said was a member of an Iraqi Shia militia fighting for President Bashar al-Assad.

But the head was recognised from the video as originally belonging to a member of Ahrar al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist rebel group that often fights alongside ISIS though it does not share its al-Qaeda ideology.

An ISIS spokesman, Omar al-Qahtani, confirmed that Mr Fares had been injured and, thinking he had been captured by members of a Shia militia against which he was fighting, asked them to kill him in terms misunderstood by the ISIS members in fact taking him to hospital.

It is thought he was wounded in the battle for Base 80, a military zone being fought over near Aleppo.

In explaining the error Mr al-Qahtani made reference to a story in which Mohammed said Allah would forgive a man who killed a believer in error.

Well I guess that’s good for you, but this seems like something for which an apology just isn’t quite enough.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Well, I certainly feel better.

  2. JoshB says:

    Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.

  3. john personna says:

    That’s OK, Texas does it too.

    (Seriously, this is generally a “capital punishment” issue. There is no way back from a mistake.)

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    That’s OK, Texas does it too.

    GODWIN!!! Oh, wait a minute, that only applies to Nazi wannabes, not people longing for the days when men in white robes and hoods were admired. My bad.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna: One other thing John, and I know that this really a very minor quibble, but….

    Texas never apologized.

  6. Moosebreath says:

    @john personna:

    “That’s OK, Texas does it too.”

    So does the US government, following “collateral damage” from drone attacks and airstrikes.

  7. rodney dill says:

    It was a case of friendly fatwa.

  8. Anderson says:

    That “apology” is completely insufficient.

    After beheading the wrong person, the only acceptable apology is handwritten on formal notepaper – look it up in Emily Post (editions published after 9/11/01).

  9. john personna says:


    I didn’t even get that one!

    I was just thinking of how Texas can continue the death penalty in the face of outcomes from The Justice Project.

  10. john personna says:


    Sadly, yes.

  11. Franklin says:

    @rodney dill: OK, it took a few posts, but you definitely win.

  12. ernieyeball says:

    Well, as bill would say, as long as the Islamists are killing each other…

  13. DC Loser says:

    It was only a flesh wound!

  14. rudderpedals says:

    You could say the punishment was wrongheaded.

  15. rodney dill says:

    @rudderpedals: but nothing to lose your head over.

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    Look, why focus on the mistakes of the past? This is a time to look ahea….um, never mind.

  17. rudderpedals says:

    @rodney dill: He needed a helping hand. They gave him a head start.

  18. Al says:

    Headlines from The Onion!

    Death Cultists Don’t Really Get What The Big Deal Is But Apologize For Killing Wrong Person Anyway.

  19. rodney dill says:

    @JoshB: I guess Wednesday for his week will be ‘Stump Day’

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @rudderpedals: @rodney dill: @Rafer Janders: @rudderpedals:


  21. Tillman says:

    Huh. Flashback to that one Austin Powers scene…

  22. Scott O says:
  23. dazedandconfused says:

    ‘If you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs..”?

    Must have heard them speaking with an Iraqi accent and assumed they were Iraqi Shia militia.