Video: Egyptian Man Beheaded

AP – Islamic Web site has pictures of beheading

An Islamic Web site posted still pictures Friday that purportedly show Iraqi militants beheading an Egyptian man they claim was spying for the U.S. military. There was no way to verify the authenticity of the images, and there was no record that the man, identified on the Web site as Mohammed Fawzi Abdaal Mutwalli, had been kidnapped. The pictures are apparently stills from a video on the site that could not be accessed. A second Web site, an English-language site that does not appear to have political links, carried the video of the beheading. Neither site gave a date for the killing.

The pictures and video were not connected to a video that emerged Wednesday purporting to show Iraqi militants beheading a man they alleged was a CIA agent. The victim in Wednesday’s tape has not been identified.

Rusty Shackleford, who has the still pictures on his site, disagrees, noting, “The pictures strike me as being in the same location as the last Egyptian ‘CIA Agent’ was murdered.” Presuming both are verified, they would also have in common a rather odd departure from the M.O. of the previous beheadings: no orange jump suits and no pre-execution video making demands.

Reports that Mutwalli had been killed first surfaced Wednesday, but Egyptian government officials have not confirmed his death. Mutwalli’s family said they had not heard from him for 15 years. Police officials said Mutwalli, 45, went to Iraq in 1986 to work as a car mechanic. He comes from the village of Saqr in Dakahlia province in the Nile Delta, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. His father, Fawzi Mutwalli, a 67-year-old watchman, said he only heard news of his son’s purported killing from journalists Thursday. “I have no idea. If he is dead, let me know, and send me his body,” he said. He said Egyptian security officials came Thursday to get information about his son but did not confirm the killing. Although the family had not heard from Mutwalli for more than 15 years, the father dismissed suggestions his son could be a spy. Mohammed is not educated. He can’t speak English. How can he be a spy?” the elder Mutwalli said Friday.

Can you feel the love?

Until Friday, there had been no evidence of an Arab hostage having been beheaded by Iraqi militants acting for political motives. A Lebanese Muslim hostage, Hussein Alyan, was killed this year, but his kidnappers may have had criminal motives because they made no political demands to spare his life.

The latest images show three masked men standing in front of a banner carrying the name and golden-sun logo of Tawhid and Jihad, the group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that has claimed responsibility for beheading other hostages in Iraq, including American Nicholas Berg and South Korean translator Kim Sun-il.
The pictures show a man, with a mustache and wearing an Arabic robe, sitting in front of the three masked men with his hands tied behind his back. Captions on the pictures of the hostage say: “From the Arab Republic of Egypt. Mohammed Fawzi Abdaal Mutwalli. I was working as a spy with the Americans in Iraq.”

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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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.