ISIS Defector Describes ‘Mind Games’ With Hostages Before Beheadings

A man claiming to be an escaped former interpreter with the Islamic State terror group has revealed unnerving details on the jihadis’ handling methods of high-profile foreign hostages.

In an interview with British network Sky News, the man describes that hostages in the group’s infamous beheading videos rarely knew they were about to die. Instead, he claims, they were deliberately told that they were just being filmed for a ransom video.

But the hostages were also manipulated into compliant obedience through “rehearsals” — mock executions. Surviving a near-death situation, the prisoners would gradually develop a false sense of security and become confident that their lives were in no immediate danger.

“Saleh’s” description matches other accounts by escaped hostages, in which IS treats its foreign captives with a mix of affection and hostility. According to the man, who uses the common Arabic name Saleh as an alias, some prisoners received Arabic nicknames — Japanese journalist Kenji Goto became “Abu Saad” — and were gently cajoled about becoming Muslims.