Airstrike kills ISIS leader responsible for death of American aid worker Peter Kassig

A U.S.-led airstrike in Syria killed a senior ISIS leader responsible for the slaying of American aid worker Peter Kassig, the Pentagon said Monday.

The attack in the desert of southeast Syria on Sunday took out Abu al-Umarayn and several other Islamic State members, according to military officials.

Kassig, a 26-year-old Indianapolis native, was taken prisoner in 2013 and killed a year later.

"Coalition forces conducted precision strikes against a senior ISIS member, and killed Abu al Umarayn, and several other ISIS members on Dec. 2 in the Badiyah Desert, Syria," the Pentagon said in a prepared statement on Monday.

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Peter Kassig, American aid worker killed by ISIS
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Peter Kassig, American aid worker killed by ISIS
Ed and Paula Kassig, parents of Peter Kassig, speak during a news conference Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, in Indianapolis. Peter Kassig was captured Oct. 1, 2013, while delivering aid in Syria through a relief organization he founded. The White House confirmed Peter Kassig's death Sunday, Nov. 16 after the Islamic State group released a video showing that Kassig had been beheaded. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Ed and Paula Kassig attend a vigil for their son, aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Attendees look on during a vigil for aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Abdul-Rahman Kassig working as a medic to help a wounded man. A trained emergency medical technician, Kassig provided medical aid and first-aid training to those involved in the Syrian conflict in his work with Special Emergency Response and Assistance (SERA). Photo taken near Deir Ezzor in August 2013. (Photo provided to the Kassig family by the copyright owner with permission for media use.
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English transcript of today's video statement by the family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter.

"As Muslims around the world, including our son Abdul-Rahman Kassig, celebrate Eid ul-Adha, the faith and sacrifice of Ibrahim, and the mercy of Allah, we appeal to those holding our son to show the same mercy and set him free."
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Ed and Paula Kassig attend a vigil for their son, aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Abdul-Rahman Kassig fishing with his father, Ed Kassig, near the Cannelton Dam on the Ohio River in southern Indiana in 2011. (Photo provided by the Kassig family.
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Attendees look on during a vigil for aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Abdul-Rahman Kassig (middle) helps push an ambulance up a hill during his time working with SERA. Photo taken near Deir Ezzor in August 2013. (Photo provided to the Kassig family by the copyright owner with permission for media use.
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Paula Kassig leaves a vigil for their son, aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Abdul-Rahman Kassig as a young boy with his mother, Paula Kassig, at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin, Kentucky, during a family camping trip in 2000. (Photo provided by the Kassig family.
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Ed and Paula Kassig attend a vigil for their son, aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Paula Kassig attends a vigil for their son, aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Attendees look on during a vigil for aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 8: Paula Kassig attends a vigil for their son, aid worker Peter Kassig at Butler University October 8, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kassig has been held by ISIS since being captured in Syria in October of 2013. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2014, file, photo, Syrian refugee Amjad Moghrabi stands in front of a photograph of his colleague, American aid worker Peter Kassig, 26, who converted to Islam while in captivity and changed his name to Abdul-Rahman Kassig, during an interview with The Associated Press in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon. Arabic reads, "Justice for Abdul-Rahman." The U.S.-led coalition has targeted a senior member of the Islamic State group involved in the 2014 killing of Kassig, a military spokesman said Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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"Al Umarayn had given indications of posing an imminent threat to Coalition Forces and he was involved in the killing of American Citizen and former U.S. Army Ranger, Peter Kassig."

Al-Umarayn "has been linked to and directly involved with executing several other prisoners as a senior ISIS member," according to the statement.

Kassig had served in Iraq and went back to the Middle East to volunteer with Special Emergency Response and Assistance.

He was captured on Oct. 1, 2013, while delivering humanitarian aid and working as a medic in Syria. The veteran converted to Islam in captivity and changed his first name to Abdul-Rahman.

ISIS released a video in November, 2014, purportedly showing Kassig's severed head. The White House confirmed his slaying two days later.

The propaganda video showed a masked man with a British accent standing over a severed head and saying it was Kassig. The video also showed the beheadings of people who appeared to be captured Syrian soldiers.

While in captivity in 2014, Kassig was allowed to write a letter to his family. He apologized for the heartache they had been enduring and seemed to foretell his execution.

"I am very sad that all this has happened and for what all of you back home are going through," Kassig wrote to his parents. "If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need."

His parents could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

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