MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Spy agents of the British MI5 and MI6 have identified the executioner of American journalist James Foley beheaded in Iraq earlier this week, The Sunday Times reported citing security sources.
According to the newspaper, the masked man in the video depicting Foley’s execution is known to fellow fighters as “Jihadi John.” The key suspect is a 23-year old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who left a 1 million pound ($1.6 million) home in west London last year.
Abdel Bary has recently tweeted a picture of himself holding up a severed head, the newspaper adds.
On August 19, the Islamic State (IS) released a video on YouTube showing a masked man beheading an American journalist James Foley, who was taken prisoner in northwest Syria in November 2012.
The journalist’s executioner said in the video that Foley was killed because US President Barack Obama had ordered airstrikes against IS positions in northern Iraq.
Earlier on Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the Islamic State was “turning a swathe of Iraq and Syria into a terrorist state as a base for launching attacks on the West." He added that the threat from Syria and Iraq would last a generation.
The IS, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), an Al-Qaeda offshoot, was fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and in June launched a large-scale offensive in Iraq, seizing large parts of the country.
In late June, the group declared itself a caliphate and announced its rebranding as the Islamic State.
In August, the United States authorized airstrikes to help Bagdad fight against the terrorists who made hundreds of Iraqis flee.