Video appears to show beheading of journalist James Foley, who went missing in Syria

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by ABC News

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 20 at 12:13 AM

(ABC News) --  A disturbing video posted online appears to show the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped while covering the Syrian conflict in 2012.

In the video a man who appears to be Foley, dressed in orange, kneels beside an armed man clad in black. Foley delivers a statement condemning U.S. action in Iraq and says that the U.S. government is his “real killers.”

“For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” Foley says in halting speech. “I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom of seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”

Seconds later, the figure dressed in black brandishes a knife and identifies himself as with the Islamic State, the name the brutal terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took on after its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared himself the leader of all Muslims.

“Today your military air force has attacked us daily… Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims,” the figure in black says. He then addresses President Obama directly, saying “any attempt… to deny the Muslims their right to live in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”

Foley is then killed. The video continues, showing American Steven Sotloff, who has written for national publications like Time, also dressed in orange and on his knees.

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

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the U.S. intelligence community "is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity."

"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," spokesperson Caitlin Hayden wrote in a statement to reporters.

The U.S. government offers a $10 million reward for information leading to ISIS leader al-Baghdadi’s capture.

Foley was on assignment in Syria for the news outlet GlobalPost. The news organization's co-founder Charles Sennott said today there is "no reliable proof that this execution is authentic" and that they're working to gather information.

"If the video is verified, it is just unfathomable darkness to think that a life as bright as Jim Foley's ended that way," Sennott said. "He was an experienced and fearless journalist who believed deeply in reporting from the frontlines."

In an interview with The Boston Globe in 2011, Foley spoke about being held captive while covering the uprising in Libya and the importance of his job.

“I believe that frontline journalism is important,” Foley said. “Without these photos and videos and firsthand experience, we really can’t tell the world how bad it might be.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., had worked with Foley's family and the State Department in their efforts to get Foley back.

"If confirmed, this barbarous and heinous act shocks the conscience and underscores the truly evil nature of the terrorists we confront, who must be defeated," Ayotte said in a statement.
 

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