American photojournalist James Wright Foley has allegedly been beheaded by the Islamic terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
The video and Foley’s death have not been verified, and President Obama’s National Security Council is working to verify the authenticity of the video. .
The video begins with a message to the U.S. government, and blames Foley’s eventual beheading on President Barack Obama’s ordered airstrikes in the region. The video also shows video of those airstrikes in what ISIS labels has “American aggression against the Islamic State.”
“Obama authorizes military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope toward a new war front against Muslims,” the video says.
Foley is reading a letter in the video that says “the real killer is America.”
The video also shows another abducted journalist. Time magazine contributor Steven Sotloff went missing in 2013 after being kidnapped near the Syria-Turkey border. In the video, the ISIS member says that further U.S. military action could result in his death.
Foley was last seen in northwest Syria where he was captured on Nov. 22, 2012. Foley’s family had not heard from him during the time he was held captive by ISIS.
The video shows Foley on his knees and identifies him just before he is shown to be executed. The video was posted to You Tube around 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Foley, who was freelancing for the U.S. online newspaper Global Post, was kidnapped at gunpoint in northern Syria.
In a statement, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder Philip Balboni said: On behalf of John and Diane Foley, and also GlobalPost, we deeply appreciate all of the messages of sympathy and support that have poured in since the news of Jim’s possible execution first broke. We have been informed that the FBI is in the process of evaluating the video posted by the Islamic State to determine if it is authentic. … We ask for your prayers for Jim and his family.”
During previous attempts to locate him, the Columbia Journalism Review said that Foley may have been held in a Syrian government-run detention center in Damascus.
According to the website Free James Foley, which is run by the Foley Family, the journalist had been independently reporting from the Middle East for five years prior to his capture.
“We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers,” the family wrote on its Facebook page. “Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers.”
“Jim helped empower disadvantaged individuals as a teacher and mentor assisting them in improving their lives,” the website says.
Foley had been previously arrested and later released in Libya in 2011. He spoke with the Boston Globe about his arrest in May 2011.
In a brief statement on Twitter, the National Security Council tweeted: “We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of a US citizen by ISIL. Working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity.”
Foley’s alleged beheading comes one day after President Obama said that Kurdish fighters had retaken the Mosul Dam from ISIS. The recapture was aided in large part to the airstrikes ordered by the president.