20 Aug 2014

Islamic State video shows US journalist beheading

Islamic State, the jihadi group that controls parts of Iraq and Syria, releases a video showing missing US journalist James Foley being beheaded – in what it calls a “message to America”.

James Foley (Credit: Nicole Tung)

Above: photojournalist James Foley. Photo credit: Nicole Tung

In the video, Global Post journalist Foley is seen dressed in an orange jumpsuit, reminiscent of the beheading of previous Western hostages in Iraq.

With a masked fighter standing behind him he makes an appeal to his family in which he mentions the US airstrike campaign in Iraq as “the last nail in the coffin” that caused his death.

“I wish I had more time, I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed,” he says.

The masked fighter, who appears to speak with a British accent, says Foley is dying because of the US airstrikes.

Another man, who Islamic State also says is a journalist, also features in the video. The fighter says that the man will be the next person to die, depending on US actions in Iraq.

“We have never been prouder of our son Jim,” said Diane Foley, James’s mother. “He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people. We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

“We thanks Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”

The US National Security Council said on Wednesday that the video was authentic.

Foley went to Syria to show the plight of the Syrian people, to bear witness to their fight, and in so doing to fight for press freedom. Sandra Mims Rowe

President Obama, who had earlier spoken to the Foley family to offer his condolences, said on Wednesday that Foley had been taken “in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the world.”

No just God would stand for what they did yesterday President Obama

He went on to denounce the Islamic State terrorist group, saying it “has no ideology of any value to human beings,” and called on governments and peoples across the Middle East to make a “common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread.”

Foley went missing in northern Syria in November 2012. His family has been campaigning to trace him.

The video of his murder was produced by Al-Furqan Media – an organisation that produces a large number of Islamic State propaganda videos.

Sandra Mims Rowe, chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said: “Foley went to Syria to show the plight of the Syrian people, to bear witness to their fight, and in so doing to fight for press freedom.

“Our hearts go out to his family, who had dedicated themselves to finding and freeing Jim.”

The CJP said that Syria has been the most dangerous country in the world for journalists for more than two years. At least 69 other journalists have been killed covering the conflict there, including some who died over the border in Lebanon and Turkey, and approximately 20 journalists are currently missing in the country, many of whom are believed to be held by Islamic State.