Video: American Hostage Eugene Armstrong Beheaded

American Hostage Killed in Iraq (AP)

A Web site posting Monday claimed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s group has beheaded one of the American hostages in Iraq and that others would soon be killed. The claim could not be verified. The short statement was posted by a Web site contributor using the pseudonym Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, who has put up past statements signed in the name of the Tawhid and Jihad group. The posting promised video proof “soon.”

Al-Zarqawi “has beheaded the first American. The group will next behead the others,” the statement said. The reliability and authenticity of such statements, videos and pictures, which appear frequently on Internet sites known for their Islamic content, cannot be known for certain. In July, a statement was posted by what was described as the “media department” of Tawhid and Jihad saying that all of the group’s statements would only be posted through al-Iraqi.

In a previous videotape issued in the name of Tawhid and Jihad, militants threatened to behead Americans Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong and Briton Kenneth Bigley on Monday unless Iraqi women are released from two U.S.-controlled prisons in Iraq. The brief posting did not say which American had been killed. The three construction contractors were snatched Thursday from their Baghdad home.

Update: Zarqawi Group Says Beheads One U.S. Hostage (Reuters)

A militant group headed by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said on Monday it had beheaded an American hostage and posted a video of the killing on the Internet. The video, on an Islamist site, identified the hostage as Eugene Armstrong and showed a masked man sawing his head off with a knife. The video showed the banner of Zarqawi’s Tawhid and Jihad group, which said it had kidnapped the hostage along with another American and a Briton in central Baghdad last Thursday. The video was the first word on the three men since a 48-hour execution deadline set by the group on Saturday expired earlier in the day.

Tawhid and Jihad said in footage posted on the Internet on Saturday it would kill the three men unless Iraqi women were freed from Abu Ghraib and Umm Qasr jails in 48 hours. The families of Americans Armstrong and Jack Hensley and Briton Kenneth Bigley have appealed for their release. The men were seized from their house in an upscale neighborhood of Baghdad on Thursday by a group of gunmen. The U.S. military says no women are being held in the two prisons specified, but that two are in U.S. custody. Dubbed “Dr Germ” and “Mrs Anthrax” by U.S. forces, they are accused of working on Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs and are in a prison for high-profile detainees.

Body of American Hostage in Iraq Recovered -U.S.

The body of an American hostage in Iraq, whose beheading was shown on a video on the Internet, has been recovered and identified, a U.S. official said on Monday. “His body has been recovered and it’s been identified,” a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. A militant group headed by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier said it had beheaded an American hostage and posted a video of the killing on the Internet. Eugene Armstrong was kidnapped along with another American and a Briton.

Rusty Shackleford
has the gruesome photos and a link to the video.

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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.