Peter Kassig's execution may have been faked by Jihadi John after the US hostage was killed in an US-led airstrike, according to extraordinary claims from the leader of a Syrian underground group.
Speaking over Skype from a hiding place near the Turkish border, the head of the anti-ISIS resistance group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently claimed there are reports that Mr Kassig died on November 5, when coalition fighter planes and drones pounded Tel-Abyad in northern Syria.
The extraordinary allegation could not be independently verified.
The claims come among increased speculation over why Mr Kassig's full body was not shown in the video. Unlike ISIS' previous sickening filmed murders, he did not speak directly to camera before being killed and his body was not shown after the murder.
U.S. sources have suggested that Mr Kassig could have been killed before the video was shot because he did not cooperate with the jihadists, either refusing to give a final speech on camera or possibly even fighting back while the murder was taking place.
American forces have previously attempted a daring rescue of U.S. hostages and President Obama has said that he would make all efforts to rescue U.S. citizens if their location could be identified.
Western planes have carried out a series of raids on the Isis weapons stockpile and refinery where Peter Kassig is claimed to have been hit but if there had been any intelligence suggesting where he was being held such strikes would have been highly unlikely to be authorized . . . .The U.S. Central Command has not responded to the report. Yesterday, the White House quickly confirmed the authenticity of a video allegedly posted by ISIS on the Internet showing the beheading of at least a dozen Syrian soldiers, along with Jihadi John standing over an image of a head purported to be Kassig.