- POSTED: 20 Aug 2014 22:12
- UPDATED: 20 Aug 2014 23:34
The FBI has told the parents of kidnapped US journalist James Foley that it believes video footage of his execution released by jihadist militants is genuine, news gatherer GlobalPost said on Wednesday (Aug 20).
WASHINGTON: The FBI has told the parents of kidnapped US journalist James Foley that it believes video footage of his execution released by jihadist militants is genuine, news gatherer GlobalPost said on Wednesday (Aug 20).
Foley worked as a freelance contributor to GlobalPost and the Boston-based operation has worked closely with his parents and private security experts in a campaign for his release.
In the video released on Tuesday, an individual presumed to be Foley - who was captured by militants in Syria in November 2012 - is seen on his knees in a desert landscape reading a statement asking his family to stop the US intervention in Iraq. A man standing next to him dressed in black with his face covered and holding a knife then says in a distinct British accent that the beheading of Foley was in direct response to the US airstrikes on their fighters.
Foley, 40, was an experienced correspondent who had covered the war in Libya before heading to Syria to follow the revolt against Bashar al-Assad's regime, contributing to news site GlobalPost, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and other media outlets.
FOLEY'S KILLING "FIRST IS ATTACK ON US"
The murder of Foley by the Islamic State is the extremist group's "first terrorist attack against the United States", warned a former head of the CIA. Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the intelligence agency who was its acting chief between 2012 and 2013, said the jihadist group is trying to intimidate Washington into calling off air strikes.
"And I think our response should be and our response will be to not do that. In fact, we should pick up the pace here," he told CBS News, referring to recent US strikes against IS militants in Iraq. "The definition of terrorism is political violence, violence for political effect. So we should mark this date down because this is ISIS' first terrorist attack against the United States."
The Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), declared itself a "caliphate" in late June and has since added a swath of northern Iraq to territory it holds in eastern Syria.
Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama ordered US warplanes to strike IS targets in Iraq to defend the Kurdish regional capital Arbil and civilian refugees fleeing the jihadist advance. This week, with assistance from US bombing runs, Kurdish and Iraqi forces began to push IS forces back and recaptured a strategic dam.
In addition to rallying extremist elements of the Sunni insurgencies against the governments of Iraq and Syria, IS has recruited radical jihadists from around the world, including Western countries. Foley's killer spoke with a British accent in the released footage, increasing fears that the group may one day mobilize foreign fighters to strike targets in Europe and America.