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Alan Henning's Wife Pleads With ISIS to Release 'Peaceful, Selfless Man'

The wife of the British aid worker whom ISIS has threatened with execution called her husband a "peaceful, selfless man" in a plea for his release.

The wife of a British aid worker held hostage and threatened with execution by the Islamist terror group ISIS issued a plea to his captors Saturday, saying he is a “peaceful, selfless man” who was only trying to help Syrians in need when he was captured.

Alan Henning, an ambulance driver who was captured by the militant group in December, was shown at the end of a gruesome ISIS video released last week, in which a different captive, David Haines, was beheaded. The black-clad, knife-wielding executioner warns that Henning will be next.

“Alan is a peaceful, selfless man who left his family and his job as a taxi driver in the U.K. to drive in a convoy all the way to Syria with his Muslim colleagues and friends to help those most in need,” Henning’s wife, Barbara, said in a statement released by the British government. “When he was taken he was driving an ambulance full of food and water to be handed out to anyone in need. His purpose for being there was no more and no less. This was an act of sheer compassion.”

“I cannot see how it could assist any State's cause to allow the world to see a man like Alan dying,” the statement went on, referring to another name by which ISIS is known, the Islamic State.

ISIS has so far executed three captives from Western nations — Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Haines, a British citizen — and released video intending to send a warning to those governments to end airstrikes and military aid to Kurdish fighters opposing the group.

The Henning family said it has appealed to ISIS to open a dialogue — but so far have been met with silence. “I pray that the people holding Alan respond to my messages and contact me before it is too late. When they hear this message I implore the people of the Islamic State to see it in their hearts to release my husband Alan Henning.”

Haines’ family made a similar public appeal to the terror group on Sept. 13, imploring ISIS to make contact. A video showing Haines’ beheading was released later that day.


— Phil Helsel