UK looks for British accent jihadist suspected for beheading US journalist
Prime minister David Cameron is in talks with senior members of the cabinet after it emerged a man suspected to have beheaded the American journalist James Foley could be a British national.
Mr Cameron cut short a planned holiday to attend the crisis meeting following voice analysts’ claims that the masked man who carried out the murder spoke with an English accent.
According to the US and European officials the recording of the man in the video was being matched to voice-prints of known terror suspects in the UK.
The FBI told reporters they were working with British counter-intelligence agencies including MI5 to identify individuals travelling to Iraq, Syria and the Middle East on revenge missions.
British Intelligence sources said an NHS doctor from East London may hold the key to identifying the attacker and suspect him to be a Western man who travelled to the Middle East to carry out the vengeance attacks.
Dr Shajul Islam was arrested in 2012 and charged for the kidnapping of British journalist John Cantlie.
Intelligence officials identified the attacker in the video as John, claiming he was the ringleader of a network of British extremists known as the Beatles.
In the slaughter video the attacker narrates to the camera stating: “This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military airforce is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims. You 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 any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
The grisly video circulated on You Tube before it was removed from the site on Tuesday. It began with a clip of the US president Barak Obama announcing recent air strikes against targets in Iraq. Words in English and Arabic appear on the screen that read: “Obama authorises military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslims.”
The video then shows a kneeling man dressed in orange clothing reading what appears to be a pre-written statement. Blaming his death on America’s own foreign policy the man utters: “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.”
Moments later the attacker approaches the kneeling man, kills him with a knife, and after a pause the body is seen lying in a pool of blood.
Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi confirmed the Pope had called the family of James Foley on Friday, without giving details of the conversation.
According to Pentagon sources the US military had attempted a secret rescue mission in July, in which two dozen Delta Force commandos were air dropped into Syria. Intelligence sources claimed to have found the location where the reporter was being held captive. A fierce gun battle with fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL forced the troops to retreat.
The attack on the American journalist comes as the US prepares to intensify its military efforts against ISIL fighters in Iraq. US secretary of defence Chuck Hagel said: “ISIL’s sophistication and strength was beyond anything we’ve seen.”