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UK Officials Close to Identifying Suspected British-Raised ISIS Militant Behind James Foley Beheading

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By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
August 25, 2014|9:29 am
U.S. journalist James Foley (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

A man holds up a sign in memory of U.S. journalist James Foley during a protest against the Assad regime in Syria in Times Square in New York, Aug. 22, 2014. Foley, who was abducted in Syria in late 2012, was beheaded by a masked member of the Islamic State in an act filmed in a video released on Aug. 19 that also threatened a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

The British ambassador to the United States has revealed that officials "are close" to identifying the Islamic militant with a strong English accent responsible for the beheading of American journalist James Foley last week.

"We're putting a great deal into the search," Peter Westmacott told CNN on Sunday, referring to the use of sophisticated technology to analyze the killer's voice.

Westmacott refused to comment further on the possible identity of the militant, who is seen in the video dressed in black, standing over 40-year-old Foley.

Linguists have suggested that the suspect sounds younger than 30 years of age; that he appears to have been educated in England from a young age, and to be from southern England or London.

The video, released by terror group ISIS, shows the apparent beheading of the journalist. Foley had been missing since November 2012 after he was kidnapped in northwest Syria by gunmen while working for U.S.-based online news outlet GlobalPost.

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned Foley's murder and highlighted the ongoing brutalities being committed by ISIS, which has captured significant territories in Iraq and Syria and forced close to 1.2 million people, including many Christians, to flee their homes.

"Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world. He was 40 years old — one of five siblings, the son of a mom and dad who worked tirelessly for his release. Earlier today, I spoke to the Foleys and told them that we are all heartbroken at their loss, and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did," Obama said in a statement last week.

U.S. journalist James Foley (Photo: Reuters/Louafi Larbi)

U.S. journalist James Foley (R) arrives with fellow reporter Clare Gillis (not pictured), after being released by the Libyan government, at Rixos hotel in Tripoli, Libya, in this picture taken May 18, 2011. Islamic State terrorists have posted a video that purported to show the beheading of American journalist Foley in revenge for U.S. air strikes in Iraq, prompting widespread revulsion that could push Western powers into further action against the group. Foley, 40, was kidnapped on Nov. 22, 2012, in northern Syria, according to GlobalPost. The video was posted after the U.S. resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for the first time since the end of the U.S. occupation in 2011. He had earlier been kidnapped and released in Libya. Picture taken May 18, 2011.

 He added about ISIS:

"They have rampaged across cities and villages — killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims — both Sunni and Shiite — by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people."

A statement last week by Britain's Ministry of Defense Armed Forces noted the growing problem of British Muslim youths being lured to fight for ISIS. Statistics showed that close to 600 British Muslims serve in the nation's military, while an estimated 800 have enlisted to fight for ISIS overseas.

Iqbal Sacranie, an adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain, called on Britons across the country to tackle this epidemic and discourage young men from joining the Islamic extremists.

"This sub culture of this 'jihadi-cool' — as they call it in the media — within the margins of society ... that is the real challenge," Sacranie told BBC Radio. "This is a problem that affects all of us and it will only be dealt with more effectively if all of us are working together on this."

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has commented on the possibility that Foley's killer is British, calling it "an utter betrayal of everything the British people stand for."

He added that the U.K. government is investing "significant resources" to tackle "a barbaric ideology."

Meanwhile, Foley's grieving family posted a message on Facebook which they say is their son's last letter to them, recalled by a fellow hostage who committed it to memory, since the letter was confiscated by his jailers.

In the letter, Foley remembers several fond family moments, and shares words of advice to his brothers, sister, and grandmother.

"I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray," the letter states.

 

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