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Interpol urges multinational response to 'barbaric' Foley murder

The head of the international police organisation Interpol on Thursday (Aug 21) condemned the beheading of US journalist James Foley and called for a global response to the threat posed by Islamic extremists.

LYON: The head of the international police organisation Interpol on Thursday (Aug 21) condemned the beheading of US journalist James Foley and called for a global response to the threat posed by Islamic extremists.

"The barbaric murder of James Foley by the Islamic State group underlines the depths of its depravity as it wages its campaign of terror across Syria and Iraq," Interpol chief Ronald Noble said in a statement. Noble called on the world to remember the other innocent people held by "blood-thirsty terrorists who know neither compassion nor mercy".

Given that the executioner appeared to be British, Noble urged a "multilateral response against the terror threat posed by radicalised transnational fighters travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East".

Islamic State jihadists beheaded Foley, 40, and posted the video of the murder online, sparking global outrage.

"A WAR CRIME"

Europe's top powers swiftly condemned Foley's killing, with France warning the world faced the "most serious international situation" since 2001.

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his holiday and rushed back to London, calling an urgent meeting to discuss how to deal with IS. The man who carried out the beheading had a British accent.

In a significant shift from its usual policy, Germany said it was ready to send weapons to support Iraqi Kurds in their battle against IS, while France vowed to hold a conference on the security of the region and the battle against the "barbaric" militants.

Rights group Amnesty International said the execution-style killing was a "war crime".

"A MESSAGE TO AMERICA"

In the nearly five-minute video, titled "A Message to America", IS declares that Foley was killed because Obama ordered air strikes against the group in northern Iraq.

The beheading is carried out in an open desert area with no immediate signs as to whether it is in Iraq or Syria by a black-clad masked militant who speaks in English.

Foley is seen kneeling on the ground, dressed in an orange outfit that resembles those worn by prisoners held at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

"Any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic caliphate as their leadership," the masked militant declares.

He threatens to kill another man seen in the video, said to be Steven Sotloff, whose kidnapping in August 2013 has not been widely reported. Sotloff has written for several US newspapers and magazines, including Time, Foreign Policy and The Christian Science Monitor.

IS, which led an offensive that has overrun large chunks of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, has declared a cross-border caliphate - a successor state to historic Muslim empires.

EXPANDED STRIKE

Earlier this month, Obama reacted by ordering US warplanes to strike the jihadists, arguing they threatened US personnel in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil and risked carrying out a genocide against religious minority groups.

Obama has insisted the scope of the strikes would remain limited but Iraqi officials and observers have argued only foreign intervention could turn the tide on jihadist expansion in Iraq.

According to Kurdish officers, a US air strike was carried out early Wednesday, targeting an apparent jihadist meeting at a school in the area of the dam.

Shiite militia, federal soldiers, Kurdish troops and Sunni Arab tribes have been battling IS for weeks in some areas but have been unable to clinch a decisive victory.

An offensive launched on Tuesday against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit was presented as a major push to liberate the city, but it appeared to have stalled a few hours later.

In northern Iraq, the UN refugee agency meanwhile said it has begun a massive 10-day operation to provide assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence.