There’s little new in this approach, particularly the massacre of captives and the method of beheading for the purposes of terrorisation. The American journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in Pakistan in 2002, the American businessman Nick Berg in Iraq in 2004, and several others thereafter. 14 Yemeni soldiers were beheaded only last week. And there are worse examples still. In the 1980s, the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah captured the CIA station chief in Beirut and, later, a US marine; accounts of their torture – “a significant number of people in this room would become physically ill” – are blood curdling.