BEIRUT: The images of what appears to be the beheading of a Lebanese Army soldier, Ali Sayyed- one of eleven soldiers captured by ISIS militants was heavily circulated on social media Thursday evening.
“Now you know who are the lions of ISIS,” tweeted Abou Misaab Hafid al-Baghdadi, linking a gruesome picture showing Sayyed’s beheading.
The victim, Ali Sayyed, is an Army soldier originally from Akkar. He was among soldiers and Internal Security Forces personnel captured during clashes that pitted jihadists against the Lebanese Army in the border town of Arsal earlier this month.
Abou Misaab Hafid al-Baghdadi claimed that he was a member of ISIS in his Twitter bio.
A senior Army official said the military was investigating reports on the beheading of Ali Sayyed.
“We can neither deny, nor confirm the report on the soldier’s beheading. We are still investigating the report,” the official told The Daily Star Thursday night.
He also denied that any soldier was killed in Thursday’s clash with the militants on the outskirts of Arsal.
“Your brothers in ISIS behead an Army soldier after Hezbollah attempted to disrupt negotiations,” tweeted Baghdadi.
“And if this [disruption] is happens again then another [soldier] will be beheaded” he continued.
The ISIS member said that either a statement or a video will be released by what he described as an “official institution" that would confirm the act.
Sayyed’s father is a mukhtar of the village of Fneideq and that three of his brothers are currently enlisted in the Lebanese Army, a security source said.
A video which was released by ISIS, and aired by LBC last week, showed Sayyed alongside six other Army hostages held captive by ISIS.
In a statement released by ISIS last week, the group threatened to kill a Lebanese soldier if the government failed to meet its demands in 24 hours.
Among the demands was the release of ISIS-affiliated prisoners from Lebanese prisons as well as respecting the rights of Syrian refugees. ISIS also threatened to kill one soldier every three days starting Aug. 26, when the statement was issuedif its demands were not met.
The beheading of Sayyed draws down the total number of captives held by militant groups to twenty eight.
Sayyed’s brutal murder also means that the number of Army hostages held by ISIS is now ten.
ISIS is now allegedly holding two corpses from the Lebanese Army, after earlier reports cited that one corpse was among the eleven hostages.
Al Nusra Front is said to be holding 15 ISF captives and three Army hostages.
Meanwhile, one Lebanese soldier went missing Thursday after his four comrades were rescued from a militant ambush on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal.
In a statement, the Army said that the militants had ambushed a five-strong unit in the border village of Al-Rahwe, prompting other units to launch an offensive against the gunmen and rescue four.