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Islamic State (ISIS) militants have reportedly released a video that shows James Foley, a U.S. Journalist who disappeared in northwest Syria in November of 2012, being beheaded. Reportedly, the video also shows ISIS threatening the life of another journalist, possibly American Steven Sotloff. Sotloff was taken in 2013 from the border between Turkey and Syria.
ISIS supposedly states in the video that if President Barack Obama does not cease all U.S. Military operations in Iraq, the second American will also be killed. The video posted to YouTube on Tuesday showed a man kneeling with an ISIS militant standing next to him all in black. The kneeling man, said to be Foley by ISIS, reads a statement that is believed to be scripted by the terrorist organization, that America’s continued presence in Iraq is why he is being put to death. The kneeling man continues to say that he wished for more time with his family. He is then apparently beheaded by the ISIS militant standing next to him.
National Security Council (NSC) spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden reported that the intelligence community is aware of the YouTube video and are quickly working to verify the authenticity. If the video is determined to be authentic, the intelligence community would be appalled by the gruesome death of an American journalist. According to Hayden, more information will be released when made available.
When Foley, who was working with the GlobalPost at the time, went missing, the reports were that gunmen forced the journalist into a vehicle. After the reported kidnapping, the journalist was not heard from again until the video, supposedly showing the journalists’ death by beheading, was uploaded to YouTube by ISIS Tuesday.
After the video was uploaded, the “Free James Foley” Facebook page posted an update asking supporters to be patient until more information about the validity of the video. The post on the Facebook page, set up to support Foley and his family and friends, on Tuesday was the first in over a month. The previous post made on July 15 marked the 600th day Foley had been missing.
The American believed to be Sotloff had disappeared while working as a contributor for Time Magazine and Foreign Policy Magazine. Reports state that in the video, ISIS militants indicate that the life or death of the American is in President Obama’s hands now. If the U.S. does not exit Iraq, the American believed to be Sotloff is likely to suffer the same fate that the individual believed to be Foley reportedly suffered in the video.
GlobalPost co-founder and CEO, Philip Balboni responded on behalf of Foley’s parents, John and Diane, and the GlobalPost family, about the support and sympathy messages that have come in since the news about the possible execution first became known to the public. Balboni stated that the FBI is evaluating and determining the validity of the ISIS video and until then, there will be no further statements made.
Foley was an experienced war journalist. In 2011 he had been kidnapped along with three fellow reporters in Libya. Six weeks later he was released. After being released in 2011, Foley said the thing that made him the most sad during the six-week ordeal was knowing that his family was worried about him.
Now while Foley’s family, friends and coworkers await confirmation reports from the FBI about the apparent beheading of the journalist by ISIS, the world waits with them. It is unclear what, if any, action the U.S. will take in response against ISIS if the video is verified to be Foley.
By Carl Auer