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ISIS Threatens to Behead Iraqi Journalist, Is Holding Others Captive

Reporters Without Borders said it is gravely concerned over the fate of Raad Mohamed Al-Azzawi.

ISIS has kidnapped and threatened to behead an Iraqi journalist who refused to work for the terrorist organization, according to media watchdogs. The threats follow the release of ISIS videos showing the beheadings of two American journalists and come as Iraqi media organizations warn many other local journalists have been kidnapped. Reporters Without Borders said it was gravely concerned over the fate of Raad Mohamed Al-Azzawi, a cameraman with Sama Salah Aldeen TV who was taken prisoner by ISIS on Sept. 7. Zyiad Al-Ajily, director of the Iraq-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, said Azzawi was one of 20 men seized by the militants in an attack on the village of Al-Samra, east of Tikrit. Azawi’s brother also was taken, Ajily added.

Ajily said that the beheading threat came after ISIS learned that Azzawi had filmed Iraqi security forces fighting against the group and refused to work for the militants. “Then ISIS announced that they were going to behead Raad for working with the government,” He told NBC News. While Ajily said efforts are underway to negotiate Azzawi’s release, “we are dealing with human beings who turned into monsters." Ajily said he has a list of other Iraqi journalists who are in the hands of ISIS, including a freelance cameraman who was released after 10 days in ISIS custody and a female anchor for Al-Mosulyah TV who is still missing. Ajily’s organization – which is partnered with Reporters Without Borders – has also confirmed that ISIS publicly threatened nine journalists by name in Mosul and Salahuddin provinces, demanding they cease their work and join ISIS or face execution.