UK Foreign Secretary has confirmed the ISIS militant who beheaded US journalist James Foley “appears to be British” after his mother posted a heartbreaking tribute to her son.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the Islamic State was waging war on Britain and the West and the organisation had to be dealt with “on that basis”.
He added that the Government believed the video was “genuine”.
Mr Hammond said Britain would oppose the Islamic State “with every breath in our body” and could send British troops to Baghdad, as UK Prime Minister David Cameron cut his holiday short to return to Downing Street for talks.
Mr Hammond voiced his “absolute horror” at the apparent beheading which he said showed the “brutality” of Islamic State jihadists.
“It just is one more example in a catalogue of brutality by this organisation.” He said IS “atrocities” in Iraq and Syria were “completely horrifying and shocking” and were driving the international community’s efforts to support Iraqis and Kurds in pushing back against the “evil organisation”.
The masked executioner in the video speaks English with a British accent. “On the face of it, it appears to have been a British person. We’ll have to do some more analysis to make quite certain that that is the case,” Hammond said.
The news comes after Foley was forced to deliver a brutal message to his family just moments before he was beheaded by ISIS militants.
Foley, who was kidnapped while reporting on the conflict in Syria in 2012, was beheaded by extremists who warned there would be more executions unless the US and President Obama bowed to their demands.
Unconfirmed video and pictures of the photojournalist’s heartbreaking final moments emerged this morning via Twitter accounts claiming to be associated with the Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In what looked like a prepared statement, Foley called on his family to rise up against the US, who he calls his “real killers”.
“I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” he said.
“My message to my beloved parents – save me some dignity and don’t accept any meagre compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin from their recent aerial campaign in Iraq.”
Although there was no immediate official confirmation the pictures were of Mr Foley, his mother Diane Foley released a message on Facebook thanking ‘Jim’ for the joy he gave them and saying he was ‘an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person.