By Mario Trujillo - 08/24/14 12:28 PM EDT
The British ambassador to the United States said his government is "close" to identifying the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant shown in a video beheading U.S. journalist James Foley.
Ambassador Peter Westmacott, however, said he would not confirm or deny British media reports about potential suspects.
He said the British government has put a number of resources into identifying the suspect in the video released last Tuesday, who spoke with a British accent.
"There are some very sophisticated technologies, voice identification and so on, which people can use to check who these people are," he said. "But, of course, the problem goes beyond one horrendous criminal, if you like."
He said there are as many as 500 British citizens who have gone to Syria or Iraq to join the fight, but he said it is not a problem exclusive to the U.K.
"We have got people from lots and lots of Western democracies who, unfortunately, are misguided enough to go to that part of the region and take up a cause which is a betrayal of all our values," he said.
British newspapers reported one among a number of potential suspect is 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. He is identified in news reports as a British-born rapper and the son of an alleged al Qaeda operative.