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Identifying Foreign Fighters

Authorities in France and Britain believe their citizens were involved in some of the latest killings carried out by Islamic State. They've been analyzing images from a video posted online, showing the beheading of an American aid worker and a group of Syrian soldiers. NHK WORLD's Craig Dale has details.

French investigators believe this man is a fellow citizen. They say he's Maxime Hauchard a 22-year who grew up in this rural community.

"We're still a bit shocked", says this neighbor. Hauchard had converted to Islam and traveled to Syria more than a year ago.

The Interior Minister says it's highly probable he participated in the beheadings of an American aid worker and more than a dozen Syrian soldiers.

Investigators are looking into the possibility another Frenchman was involved.

And British authorities have been working to determine the identities of other foreign fighters who appeared in the beheading video.

The Prime Minister is stressing the measures he's taking to keep radicalized Britons from joining Islamic State.

"These include new powers for police at ports to seize passports, to stop suspects from traveling and to stop British nationals returning to the UK unless they do so on our terms."
David Cameron / British Prime Minister

Peter Kassig was the American aid worker. The 26-year-old was a former member of the US Army. He's converted to Islam and went by the name Abdul Rahman.

"Our hearts though heavy are held up by the love and support that has poured into our lives these last few days."
Ed Kassig / Father of victim

"Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end."
Paula Kassig / Mother of victim

Kassig is the fifth Western hostage Islamic State has killed. US leaders say they won't be intimidated.

And they've reiterated their policy on paying militants to release hostages which some European nations have done.

"All the evidence shows that where and if a country pays a ransom, there are many more people who are taken hostage."
John Kerry / US Secretary of State

Islamic State still holds a number of captives.

But overall, it's the people of Syria and Iraq who are shouldering the cost of this insurgency. They continue to flee the group. And reports of the militants' brutality continue to surface.

Officials with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say Islamic State has killed more than 14 hundred Syrians outside battle since the end of June. The majority of them were civilians.

US-led forces have been using air strikes to stop the Islamic State advance in Syria and Iraq. The top American military commander has said the battle is starting to turn against the militants. Still, he predicted the campaign could take several years.

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