Idlib (Syria), 26 June /MCN/
A video spread on YouTube shows the violent beheading of two people, one of whom was said to be an archbishop and the other a young man, by individuals affiliated with Islamic militia Al-Nusra Front, in Idlib, Syria.
YouTube later removed the video, as it contains graphic scenes of the two people being decapitated.
One of the perpetrators attempted to say the following in Arabic, “We found the phone numbers of army officers in one of the hostages’ phones.” They then beheaded the two men amid cries of “God is great!”
Evidence suggests that one of the victims is Franciscan monk Francois Mourad, who was kidnapped last Sunday from the Latin Convent in Ghassaniya village, in the northern countryside, after the monastery was looted and destroyed.
Father Elias Thabet, Damascus Church’s priest, said in a press statement, “Targeting Father Francois is to target clergies, which falls within the sectarian sedition campaigns that have started in Egypt.”
“This is a revenge on clergies and church leaders in Syria, as Syrian Christians are against violence.”
Father Thabet continued, “It is not surprising that these groups murdered Father Francois, especially after they recently killed Father Fadi Haddad, who was kidnapped in Damascus during his efforts to free abductees.”
He referred to the “repeated kidnappings of Christian clergies in Syria,” which confirms the existence of a campaign similar to what happened in Iraq, in terms of displacement of Christians from the Middle East. He denounced the looting and attacks on Latin Monastery, given the magnitude of its legacy and history.
Unidentified gunmen had abducted Bishop Boulous Yazgi, Aleppo’s Roman Orthodox Archbishop, and Bishop Youhanna Ibrahim, Aleppo’s Syrian Orthodox Archbishop. Both have yet to be released and their condition remains unknown.
An officer in the Syrian Free Army suggested that the leader of Al-Nusra Front who resides in Al-Mashhad village, known as Abu Al-Banat, is the one behind the kidnapping of the Aleppo archbishops, noting that they were held hostage at Al-Mashhad village, and one of them might have been murdered.
|Beheading Franciscan monk 26 Jun 2013|