MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - The FBI has identified a masked, knife-wielding Islamic State militant who features as the presumed executioner in videos of the beheading of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, but has declined to reveal the person’s name or nationality, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting FBI Director James Comey.
"I believe that we have [him] identified," the news agency quotes Comey as telling a small group of reporters. "I'm not going to tell you who I believe it is."
In the videos, which were released in August and September, of the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, a masked Islamic State militant holds a knife and speaks English with a British accent.
Intelligence specialists ascertained from his accent that the man was from London and is likely to be from a community of Asian immigrants, Reuters quoted a European government source familiar with the investigation as saying.
The principal investigative work to identify the man has been conducted by British government agencies, according to the US and European officials.
Shortly after Foley's killing in August, the British ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott, said that Britain was working on identifying the suspect using voice-recognition technology.
British authorities have opted not to reveal the results of their investigation in the hope that it might make it easier for authorities to capture the militants implicated in the beheadings.
Earlier in August, The Sunday Times cited its security sources as saying that the masked man in the video of Foley’s execution was known to fellow fighters as “Jihadi John.”
The key suspect is 23-year old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who left his family’s posh 1 million pound ($1.6 million) home in west London last year to join the terrorist group.