MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – The Islamic State militant group may have beheaded US journalist James Foley, taken prisoner by armed men in Syria in 2012, in retaliation for airstrikes against its rebels approved by US President Barack Obama earlier this month.
The Islamist group released a graphic video online named “A Message to America,” showing the alleged execution of journalist Foley. The video opens with the footage of Obama making his announcement about authorizing airstrikes in Iraq. It then switches to a scene where Foley purportedly issues a statement urging his friends and family to “rise up against my real killers,” - the United States. The journalist is later shown beheaded. The video initially posted on Youtube was removed soon after.
US intelligence agents are currently trying to verify the authenticity of the video, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
“We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of US citizen James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity,” Hayden was stressed.
"If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," the spokeswoman added.
A statement posted on Twitter and Facebook accounts, created by his family to help find the missing journalist, said early on Wednesday: “We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers. Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers.”
The Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), is a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria against the country’s president, Bashar Assad, and launched an offensive in Iraq in June. Later that month, the radicals announced that they established a caliphate on the territory they control forcing hundreds of thousands, including ethnic and religious minorities, to flee.
Since early August the United States has been launching targeted airstrikes against the Islamic State aimed at protecting US personnel in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region Erbil, as well as preventing the “genocide” of Iraqi religious minorities who were forced to flee for their lives.