French schoolchildren identify former classmate as IS shooter

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf petro-powerhouses encouraged a flow of cash to Sunni rebels in Syria for years. But …
AP Photo/Militant Website, File

TOULOUSE, France, March 14 (UPI) — French schoolchildren identified a preteen boy who was seen executing an Islamic State hostage last week as a former classmate.

Students at Vauquelin secondary school recognized the boy, who has not been named, after watching video footage that claims to show the execution of Muhammad Musallam, 19, who was taken hostage as an alleged Israeli spy. The boy is thought to be about 12 and a former student at the school in Toulouse in southwest France.

French authorities opened an investigation to identify the French-speaking boy and man in the IS propaganda video.

“Concerning the formal identification of this person, I cannot tell you anything,” the schools inspector, Jacques Caillaut, told reporters. “Children from the Vauquelin College have recognized one of their (former) classmates, but we must remain cautious.”

In the video, Musallam is seen kneeling on the ground with the boy and an adult standing behind him. The child shot the kneeling man at least twice.