A Syrian Catholic priest has been beheaded by jihadist fighters in Syria. The death of Franciscan Father Francois Murad has been confirmed by the official Vatican news agency.
Grainy footage purported to show the 49-year-old’s death has been posted on the internet. Father Francois, was killed on 23 June in Gassanieh, in northern Syria. He had been staying in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land.
linked to the video and reported: ‘Syrian terrorists have beheaded a Catholic priest who they accused of collaborating with the Assad regime. Those accusations have not yet been verified.’
Fides News Agency
said: ‘According to local sources, the monastery where Fr. Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra.’
Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Front for the Protection of the Syrian People, is an Al Qaeda associated group, described as ‘the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force.’
In the video, filmed on a camera phone and posted on LiveLeak, three men – including a man reported to be Father Francois – are seen sitting on the dusty ground as a crowd around them cheers.
MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE – Peep the video when you continue…between we uploaded the censored version. The original video is too disturbing to upload but you can find it on the web.
The man, wearing a brown robe, is filmed sitting cross-legged with his hands apparently bound.
He is pulled forward and laid face down on the grass as the crowd chant ‘Allahu akbar’ and take photos.
He is then decapitated, using what looks like a rudimentary kitchen knife.
Dozens of camera phones are shoved forward by the baying crowd as the scene turns more bloody.
Fides News Agency says the ‘circumstances of the death are not fully understood’ but said his death has been confirmed by the Custos of the Holy Land – the convent where Father Francois had been staying.
Assad’s forces pounded Sunni Muslim rebels in the city of Homs with artillery and from the air on Sunday, the second day of their offensive in central Syria, activists said.
They said rebels defending the old centre of Homs and five adjacent Sunni districts had largely repelled a ground attack on Saturday by Assad’s forces, backed by guerrillas from the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah, but reported clashes and deaths within the city on Sunday.
The gruesome killing has raised further concerns about the West arming rebels in the fight against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. – Source: Dailymail