By Jesse Byrnes - 08/20/14 03:01 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday condemned militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who executed American journalist James Foley and vowed that they would be brought to justice.
"The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil," Kerry said in a statement. "[ISIS] and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.”
Kerry described the killing as "ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil." He said that he and other family members who knew Foley's family are "heartbroken."
Kerry’s comments came after President Obama, while on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, delivered a statement, vowing that America would be “vigilant” and “relentless” in protecting its citizens.
"From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread," Obama said of ISIS.
"There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century," he added.
In the video, Foley was forced to read a statement denouncing recent U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS in Iraq. The militants also threatened to execute another American journalist they captured if the U.S. does not relent.
Administration officials, though, are weighing sending additional troops into Iraq to help local forces push back ISIS.