The cold-eyed terrorists lined up behind their victims in the latest Islamic State video appear to come from outside the Middle East, including one from France and possibly two from Britain, as the extremist group tries to show a global reach.
The grisly video — clearly aimed at a Western audience — lingers as much on the faces of the camouflaged extremists as the men who are beheaded. The victims include American aid worker Peter Kassig and more than a dozen Syrian soldiers.
The images of the Islamic State members, who are shown one by one in close-up, allowed authorities to identify one of them Monday as a 22-year-old Frenchman who converted to radical Islam.
Maxime Hauchard has been on the radar of French authorities since 2011 when he took two trips to Mauritania to attend a Quranic school, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. The prosecutor said investigators were trying to determine if another Frenchman also is in the video.
The overwhelming majority of Islamic State fighters are from the Mideast, but the extremist group is trying to cement its claim on an Islamic empire straddling Iraq and Syria. Europe appears to be a fertile ground to find supporters, with officials saying thousands of young Europeans have headed off to jihad. More than 1,000 people in France alone are under surveillance for suspected plans to join the group, officials said.