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France identified one of its citizens Monday as an executioner in the latest ISIS video showing the beheading of an American hostage. A prosecutor in Paris identified him as Maxime Hauchard, 22, a convert to Islam whom French authorities have been tracking for years. He recently posted pictures of himself in fatigues in Syria. He also gave an interview to a French television network in July and claimed part of the credit for ISIS’ capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Hauchard converted at 16 and has a felony conviction for driving without insurance, said the prosecutor, Francois Molins. He attended an Islamic conference in Mauritania in 2012 but was disappointed because it wasn't radical enough for him, the prosecutor said.
Terrorism expert, Jean-Charles Brisard told NBC News how he was also able to recognize Hauchard in the newly released video.
"We are running a data base with hundreds of profiles of fighters from Europe and so when I looked at the video I immediately thought he was similar to pictures I have already seen," said Bisard. "And then we were able to ask questions on the ground to foreign fighters that we knew that have been in contact with him and they confirmed it was him on the video."
The video, released Sunday, showed the severed head of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, an American aid worker formerly known as Peter, and the beheadings of more than a dozen Syrian soldiers.
More than 1,600 French nationals are involved with ISIS, including 376 in the combat zone, Molins said.