ISIS says it beheads U.S. journalist

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria threatens to carry out further executions until the United States ended its air strikes against the militant group

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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, and threatening to carry out further executions until the United States ended its air strikes against the militant group.

In the video, which was not immediately possible to verify, a masked man performed the beheading with a short blade after warning President Barack Obama in spoken English against any further air strikes on ISIS' positions.

James Foley Screen Grab
James Foley Screen Grab

The graphic scene ends with the masked man threatening to execute another “citizen,” who is shown to the camera and is identified as Steven Joel Sotloff, another journalist who reportedly went missing in mid-2013.

Foley, who has reported from the Middle East for five years, was abducted on Nov. 22, 2012, by unidentified gunmen.

A Twitter account set up by his family to help find him 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 ISIS video titled “A Message To America” begins with footage earlier this month of Obama announcing his decision to authorize military airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS targets.

“I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against the real criminals, the U.S. government, for what will happen to me is only the result of their complacency and criminality,” the man, who the masked man later identifies as Foley, said.

“My message to my beloved parents: save me some dignity and don’t accept any meager compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent areal campaign in Iraq,” the man, who is dressed in orange clothes, said.

“I call on my brother John, who is a member of the U.S. air force, think about what you are doing, think about the lives that you destroy including those of your own family. I call on you John: Think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq, to kill those people, whoever they may have been. Think John: who did they really kill? Did they think about me, you or our family when they made that decision?” he said.

“I died that day John: when your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people, they signed my death certificate. I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom to see my family again but that ship sailed.

“I guess all in all: I wish I was not an American,” he concludes, before the masked man, pointing a dagger at the reporter’s head, identifies his captive as Foley.

“This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government you have been at the forefront of the aggression toward the Islamic State [ISIS]. You have plotted against us and gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs,” the masked man said.

“Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq, your strikes have caused casualties amongst the Muslims,” the man, speaking in what sounded like a British accent, said.

“You [the United States] are no longer fighting an insurgency, we are an Islamic army and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.

“So effectively, any aggression toward the Islamic State, is an aggression toward Muslims from all walks of life, who have accepted the Islamic caliphate as their leadership,” he said.

ISIS Steven Joel Sotloff screen grab
ISIS Steven Joel Sotloff screen grab

The man warns Obama that any attempt to “deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in bloodshed of your people,” before conducting the execution.

"Find James Foley," the campaign run by his family to secure the 40-year-old freelancer's release, posted a public message online following the release of the video asking for time "to seek answers."

The man then holds by the shirt a second individual who is identified as Sotloff and warns Obama to cease targeting the militant group.

“The life of this American citizen Obama depends on your next decision,” he warned.

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