MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - The militant that executed American journalist James Foley is a British national and member of the so-called “Beatles” group in the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization, The Guardian reports citing undisclosed sources.
"This is significant because it signifies a turn towards threatening the West. They are saying we're going to come after you if you bomb us," Peter Neumann, the head of International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King's College London, told The Guardian, arguing the choice of the British-accented militant for James Foley’s execution was not random.
On Tuesday, the IS uploaded a video showing the beheading of James Foley, an American journalist seized in Syria in 2012. A masked jihadist, who introduced himself as an IS member, spoke English with an accent identified as southern British by a linguistic expert, interviewed by The Guardian.
Foley’s executioner, who called himself “John,” is one of the Islamic State’s key negotiators dealing with the families of foreigners taken hostage by the insurgents in Syria, one of the former hostages told The Guardian. “John” and another two jihadists form the group were given the nickname “The Beatles” by the hostages, because of their British origins.
The IS began in Syria, where it has been fighting government forces since 2012. In 2014, the group launched offensive on northern Iraq, seizing vast territories. At the end of June, the IS proclaimed an Islamic Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The United States has been carrying out drone and air strikes against the jihadists since August, claiming the attacks are intended to protect ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq that are facing the threat of genocide from the IS.
The IS frequently captures foreign citizens in its terrorist campaigns. After releasing the footage of Foley’s execution, the Sunni extremists also published a video showing another US journalist, Stephen Sotloff, and warned Washington that his life depends on America’s next steps.