Footage of the veteran rocker, 72, leading a line of friends over a sand dune appeared on his wife Penny Lancaster's Instagram account on Thursday (02Mar17).

The video, later deleted by Penny, 45, showed the Maggie May singer standing behind a pal and putting his hand across their neck, a gesture outraged social media users likened to a mock beheading similar to those perpetrated by Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Rod has now apologised for the video, saying that he and his friends were merely "larking about" before a concert in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) on Thursday (02Mar17) and acting out scenes from the popular fantasy TV drama Game of Thrones.

"From re-enacting the Beatles' Abbey Road crossing to spontaneously playing out Game Of Thrones, we were simply larking about pre-show," he said in a statement. "Understandably, this has been misinterpreted and I send my deepest apologies to those who have been offended."

According to Daily Telegraph editors, Penny had initially captioned the video, "Rod Stewart (leader) band doing a 'Beatles' sand dune crossing."

The alleged 'beheading' gesture provoked particular outrage in Rod's native U.K. due to its apparent similarities to videos which showed IS militant Mohammed Emwazi, also known by the name Jihadi John, brutally murdering British aid workers captured by IS. It is believed Emwazi was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

After the U.A.E. gig, Rod heads to Las Vegas, Nevada, where his tour continues on 15 March (17).