UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council late Friday sharply condemned a new video that purports to show an Islamic State group fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning, calling the killing a "heinous and cowardly murder."
The statement said the video "once again demonstrates the brutality" of the Islamic State group. It stressed that council members believe that "such continued acts of barbarism perpetrated by ISIL do not intimidate them, but rather stiffen their resolve" that countries, especially in the affected region of Syria and Iraq, must come together to counter such terrorist groups.
The statement also demanded the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all held hostage by the Islamic State group, the Nusra front and other groups and individuals associated with al-Qaida.
The current president of the council, Argentine Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, read the statement to reporters. She did not say whether the United Nations had verified the video and did not answer questions.
"What a world," she said before reading the council's statement.
The council's rapid response to the video, within a few hours of its release, reflected the international community's growing alarm at the recent series of beheadings and a special concern over the death of a humanitarian aid worker.
"This crime is a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers volunteer humanitarian personnel face every day in Syria," the statement said.
It also stressed that the Islamic State group "must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out."