The United States carried out three airstrikes against ISIS militants in Syria on Saturday and Sunday using fighter jets, according to the U.S. Central Command. In a separate offensive, U.S. military forces used bombers, fighter jets and helicopters to conduct six airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, CENTCOM said.
The strikes in Syria destroyed an ISIS bulldozer, two ISIS tanks, another ISIS vehicle and six ISIS attack positions, CENTCOM said in a release. The strikes in Iraq hit two mortar teams, a large ISIS unit, two smaller ISIS groups, and destroyed a total of three ISIS Humvees. CENTCOM said all of the friendly aircraft used in the attacks "departed the strike areas safely."
Meanwhile, The parents of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, the American aid worker threatened with death in ISIS' latest beheading video, has pleaded with his captors Saturday to show mercy and free their son so he can "continue his life's work serving the people of the region." In a video message, Ed and Paula Kassig of Indianapolis said that they believe "violence is not the solution to the problems that trouble us all" and that "we've asked our government to change its actions, like our son, we have no more control over the U.S. government than you have over the breaking of dawn."
Kassig, 26, a former Army Ranger who served in the Iraq war and then founded a humanitarian organization to help refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, was born Peter Kassig but adopted a Muslim name upon his conversion to Islam, which his parents said had given him comfort. He was undertaking a project for his group, Special Emergency Response and Assistance, when he was captured Oct. 1, 2013, on his way to Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria.
The wife of the latest British hostage executed by ISIS said his loved ones are "numb with grief" -- while the man's brother-in-law accused the British government of not doing enough to help free him. Alan Henning, an aid worker captured in Syria in December 2013, was beheaded on a video released Friday by the jihadist extremists. The 47-year-old former taxi driver is the fourth Western hostage shown slain by ISIS in an execution video since August.
Henning's wife, Barbara, said in a statement Saturday that she, their two children and their other family and friends are "devastated" by his death. "Alan was a decent, caring human being," the statement said. "His interest was in the welfare of others. He will be remembered for this and we as a family are extremely proud of him and what he achieved and the people he helped."
Henning's brother-in-law, Colin Livesey, said he was holding out hope that Henning would be rescued. "I don't believe in hope no more," he told NBC News' U.K. partner, ITV News. Livesey said in an interview with the BBC that the British government could have done more to help Henning and another executed British hostage, David Haines. Unlike other countries, however, Britain and the U.S. don't negotiate with terrorists or pay ransoms.