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British hostage held by IS worked for aid groups

Sep. 3, 2014 - 10:28AM   |  
An image grab taken from a video released by Islamic State and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group on Tuesday purportedly shows footage of a masked militant in a desert landscape threatening to kill David Cawthorne Haines.
An image grab taken from a video released by Islamic State and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group on Tuesday purportedly shows footage of a masked militant in a desert landscape threatening to kill David Cawthorne Haines. (SITE Intelligence Group/AFP via Getty Images)
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David Cawthorne Haines, the latest hostage threatened with beheading by the Islamic State, has worked for non-profit aid groups and may be running a company based in Croatia.

In a video that was obtained and posted online Tuesday by the SITE Intelligence Group, a hooded man was shown beheading American journalist Steven Sotloff and warning that Haines will be next.

"We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," said Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokeswoman, in a statement. "The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Tiffany Easthom, a spokeswoman for Nonviolent Peaceforce, a civilian peacekeeping group based in Belgium, said Haines had done some security work for the organization for about six months in South Sudan 2012 and was working for another organization, France-based ACTED, when he was kidnapped last year in Syria.

NBC News first reported about Haines' involvement with Nonviolent Peaceforce.

"We feel awful for him," Easthom said. "He was a hard-working guy."

Haines has left very little digital footprint until Tuesday. According to business research firm Hoover's, one David Cawthorne Haines runs Astraea, a restaurant supplier company from Croatia.

Easthom said she recalls Haines talking about running a company in Croatia, though she couldn't recall the type of business.

A woman with the same last name as Haines is listed as an Astraea executive in Hoover's report. She declined to comment when reached by NBC News. "Thank you for understanding," she said.

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