By Michael S. Smith II

On 11 March 2015, manager(s) of Twitter account @Z_A_R_KAWEA posted links to a video featuring the execution of an alleged Mossad agent of Palestinian descent who identifies himself as Muhammad Sa’id Isma’il Musallam. In the video, the alleged “spy” is shot to death by a child soldier of the Islamic State, or DA’ISH.

Screenshots: Child executioner in “And Wretched Is That Which They Purchased”

Much like Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive by DA’ISH in January 2015, prior to his execution, Musallam sat for an interview, the contents of which are featured both in the execution video and in the pages of DA’ISH’s leading English-Language magazine, Dabiq (Issue 7). In this interview, Musallam says he was recruited by Mossad and sent to Syria to gather information about DA’ISH. He also provides his captors information concerning a Mossad-managed spy ring that he claims he, his father and brother were part of.

Excerpts: Dabiq Issue 7

Titled “And Wretched Is That Which They Purchased,” the video is intended to both warn Israel against deploying spies to Syria and Iraq, and to threaten the country.

As his interview concludes, Musallam states: “I say to those who come to spy on the Islamic State, you won’t succeed at all. In the end, they’ll capture you and implement the hadd on you.”

Next, after Musallam is led into a field by the child who eventually shoots him in the head, and then fires several more rounds into his body, a French-speaking Islamic State member who joins them addresses Musallam’s alleged employer, Mossad. “Allah has repelled your plot and you have not achieved anything good,” he says. Continuing, he states: “As for the near term, you will see the legions of the Khilafah pounding your lands and your fortresses. They will liberate Jerusalem from your filth, by Allah’s permission. … O supporters of the Islamic State, O grandsons of Muhammad Ibn Maslamah, we’ve revealed to you some of the names and pictures of the spies in Jerusalem, so make those who recruited them see their blood flow …”

Screenshots from “And Wretched Is That Which They Purchased”

Information concerning Musallam and other alleged “Mossad agents” is presented in the video in a manner similar to the “Security Database” materials featuring information about other Jordanian pilots whom DA’ISH advertised bounties for when it released the video that documented the murder of Lt al-Kaseasbeh. Further, there are numerous production similarities between this video and the computer animation-intensive video of Lt al-Kaseasbeh’s execution.

Screenshot from “And Wretched Is That Which They Purchased”

The video’s title is an allusion to Quranic verse; specifically, Surat al-e-Imran 3:187, an interpretation of which reads:

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], “You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it.” But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.

This verse is ostensibly invoked to justify the execution of Musallam, whose testimony reveals he was a paid informant tasked with gathering information about other Muslims who were seeking to cause harm to Israel. Surely, according to his captors, this is an act of apostasy — thus deserving death, according to their takfirist logic. For Islam prohibits Muslims from causing harm to other Muslims. Indeed, surely according to their logic, Musallam, like Lt al-Kaseasbeh, had willfully caused harm to Muslims.

Released several weeks prior to the release of the video featuring the immolation of Lt al-Kaseasbeh, Dabiq Issue 6 featured an interview with the captured pilot. Similarly, as noted above, released several weeks prior to the release of the video showcasing the murder of Musallam by a child, the subsequent issue of Dabiq contains the transcript of the interview with Musallam found in the video. This interview is followed by an article concerning the Coptic Christians taken hostage by DA’ISH, which is accompanied by screenshots from the video showcasing their executions that was also posted online weeks after the article was published. (Dabiq Issue 6 is available here; Dabiq Issue 7 is available here.)

The Twitter account which the DOWNRANGE team first observed posting the video titled “And Wretched Is That Which They Purchased,” @Z_A_R_KAWEA, no longer exists.

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