Isis Kills Alan Henning Who had travelled to Syria to help child refugees in war-torn country

By on October 4, 2014

Alan Henning – the second British hostage to be murdered by ISIS terrorists – was an ‘ordinary’ taxi driver compelled to travel to Syria to help child refugees in the war-torn country.Henning

Originally from Salford, Greater Manchester, he had seen the suffering first hand during a life-changing visit to a refugee camp, which inspired him to help the innocents whose lives were being wrecked by the conflict.

After volunteering with a Muslim charity, the 47-year-old married father-of-two agreed to drive 3,000 miles in a convoy of old ambulances to help the aid effort and take much-needed medical supplies to hospitals in the northern Syrian province of Idlib.

Known as ‘Gadget’ to friends and family for his fondness for technology, Mr Henning had been washing cars in the UK to raise money for donations before setting off on his fourth visit to the country.

He travelled with eight others from charity Al-Fathiha Global, who intended to deliver vital equipment, including NHS ambulances packed with baby milk, nappies, food and defibrillators, but was kidnapped by Islamic State extremists on Boxing Day, shortly after making the 4,000-mile journey to the town of Al-Dana.

Footage emerged three weeks ago of the keen fisherman looking ill and exhausted as he knelt before the knife-wielding militant nicknamed Jihadi John at the end of the chilling video of the barbaric murder of aid worker David Haines.

Last night the terrorist’s threat that Mr Henning would become the next British hostage to be killed if David Cameron persisted ‘in fighting the Islamic State’ appeared to have been carried out.

His death comes just two days after his wife of 23 years Barbara Henning, 45, appeared on camera to make a heart-breaking plea to his captors to spare his life.

Tearfully, she said Mr Henning, 47, was ‘in the right place, doing the right thing’ when he travelled to Syria to deliver aid.

She described her husband as a ‘peaceful, selfless man’ and begged ISIS to show him mercy.

Earlier she had revealed that she had heard her husband’s voice just once over the past nine months – in an audio message sent by his captors in which he could be heard begging for his life.

Neighbours living near his family’s red-brick terrace house in Eccles, Greater Manchester, where the couple had lived for a decade, covered their community with yellow ribbons in a show of support for Mr Henning, his wife and their children Lucy, 17, and Adam, 15.

‘Free Alan’ ribbons were attached to cars, gates and lampposts and more than 100 friends and well-wishers attended a vigil for all faiths last week to pray for his safe return.

Muslim leaders across the globe also urged the Islamic terrorists to show mercy to Mr Henning, who was ‘an ordinary guy just trying to help women and kids.’

They said killing Mr Henning is against shariah law and would be the ‘worst condemnable sin’ against Islam.

A fan of Phil Collins, which he enjoyed playing as he drove, Mr Henning was incredibly popular and during one trip insisted on sleeping inside his ambulance instead of a hotel to save money so it could be donated to the refugees instead.

BBC documentary maker Catrin Nye, who met Mr Henning when he was packing an aid convoy bound for Syria, said he had no formal background in aid work, but felt a ‘pull’ to return to Syria after a previous trip to a refugee camp.

‘He was a funny man and was cracking jokes while we were packing up,’ Ms Nye said.

‘He told me that he’d been on one of those convoys previously and he was inspired by his friends who’d been, and since he’d got back he’d found it hard not to return.

‘He’s a taxi driver, not a professional aid worker – but he said he looked at the world differently [after he returned] and felt a pull to go back to Syria.

‘He was very popular and friends would comment that he was very funny and very kind.

‘He described holding the children … and how that really affected him. He told me he had to go back.’

Kasim Jameel, leader of the convoy on which Mr Henning was travelling when he was kidnapped, described his friend as a ‘big softie.’

While Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, who was also in the convoy, said Mr Henning was ‘remarkable.’

‘He’s such a compassionate and selfless human being,’ she said. ‘It just simply wasn’t enough for Alan to sit back and just donate or raise awareness.

He had to get up and do something about what he’d seen Every time the convoys went he had a yearning to go. That really motivated him, to see, practically, first-hand the difference he was making.’

But after the Ministry of Defence announced that RAF Tornados had attacked IS targets inside Iraq – many feared a backlash against Mr Henning.

Relatives and colleagues said they feared air strikes would make it harder for him to be found alive.

Last night it appeared their worst fears had been realised.


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