ISIS claims to behead American journalist

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Freelance journalist James Foley, who went missing more than a year ago, has reportedly been beheaded by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to an unconfirmed video that surfaced online Tuesday. 

In the video, a man believed to be Foley is forced to make a statement calling on the U.S. to stop its intervention in Iraq and is executed.

{mosads}The almost-five minute video shows a man — identified onscreen as Foley — dressed in orange and kneeling in a desert location. Standing behind him is a man wearing black, whose face is disguised.

“I call on my friends, family and loved ones, to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government,” the man believed to be Foley says.

“For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality. My message to my beloved parents, save me some dignity and don’t accept any meager compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent aerial campaign in Iraq,” he continues. 

An official for the National Security Council said it was working to determine whether the video is real.

“If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. “We will provide more information when it is available.”

While on Air Force One Tuesday, President Obama was briefed on the video by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, and will continue to receive regular updates, according to a White House pool report. 

The video also includes footage of Obama from Aug. 7 discussing his decision to authorize airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops in Iraq and footage taken from U.S. aircraft striking ISIS targets. 

In the video, the man believed to be Foley also calls on his brother, a “member of the U.S. Air Force,” to “think about what you are doing.” 

“Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family. Think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been,” he says. “I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”  

The disguised man, a member of ISIS, also speaks in the video.

“Today your military airforce is attacking us daily in Iraq,” he says. “You’re no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic army and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.” 

The man also addresses Obama directly. 

“Any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”

The video then shows the beginning and the aftermath of the execution. 

The masked man is also shown with another American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, and threatens that he will be executed next if the U.S. does not stop its attacks in Iraq.

“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the man says. 

The incident, if confirmed, would mark the second known beheading of an American journalist by Islamic terrorists.

In January 2002, Daniel Pearl, an American and Israeli citizen reporting for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped while traveling in Pakistan, and beheaded by al Qaeda member Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on Feb. 1. 

Foley, 40, who has freelanced for GlobalPost and Time, was last seen in northwest Syria in November 2012, according to the Guardian

A Facebook page set up to raise awareness of Foley’s kidnapping had a statement on Tuesday afternoon after the video surfaced online. 

“We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers. Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers,” it said.  

—This story was updated at 9:04 p.m. 

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