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American Abdul-Rahman Kassig, Held Captive by ISIS, Knew Risks: Friends

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An American aid worker threatened with beheading in Syria had researched the region and knew the dangers, but he believed the good he could accomplish through his relief organization outweighed the risk, his friends said Wednesday.

Separately, the mother of the 26-year-old hostage, Abdul-Rahman Kassig, reached out to the leader of the ISIS militants via Twitter in a new effort to secure her son's release. The group captured Kassig in Syria on Oct. 1, 2013. In a video released Friday, an ISIS militant threatened to kill Kassig following the beheading of British hostage Alan Henning.

Nearly 300 people gathered Wednesday at Butler University in Indianapolis, where Kassig was a student from 2011 to 2012, to celebrate his work to help Syrians and pray for his release. Hazem Bata of the Islamic Society of North America quoted religious passages and urged ISIS to "follow the religion you claim to hold so dear and have mercy on Abdul-Rahman."

“He fully understood that this was a possibility and he accepted that, and I think that says a tremendous amount about the sort of person he is and to the kind of legacy he wants to create," Todd Hill, who met Kassig in college after his medical discharge from the army, said.

IN-DEPTH

— The Associated Press

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