American photojournalist James Wright Foley executed by Islamic State

The Islamic State posted a graphic video to YouTube on Tuesday showing the execution of American journalist James Wright Foley and warning that further military action in Iraq will determine whether another captive, American journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, will live or die.

By JC Finley
American photojournalist James Wright Foley executed by Islamic State
An undated photo of U.S. photojournalist James Wright Foley. (Twitter)

DAMASCUS, Syria, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- American photojournalist James Wright Foley, who was kidnapped in 2012 while reporting from Syria, has purportedly been beheaded by Islamic State militants.

A four-minute video was posted to YouTube on Tuesday entitled "A Message to #America (from the #Islamic State)." It begins with footage from August 7 of U.S. President Barack Obama announcing his authorization of targeted airstrikes against IS militants in Iraq and cuts to footage of Foley.


Clad in an orange jumpsuit, Foley is shown kneeling next to a man disguised in black from head to toe, armed with a knife.

The IS terrorist, whose accented voice sounds distorted, delivers a message to Obama.

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"Today your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq... you are no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic army, a state that has been accepted by a large number of Islams worldwide. So effectively, any aggression toward an Islamic state is an aggression toward Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic caliphate as their leadership. So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people."


In a graphic sequence, the video shows the terrorist beheading Foley, cuts to a shot of his body, and then delivers another threat to execute American journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, shown being held by the collar. Sotloff disappeared while reporting from Syria in 2013.

"The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision," the terrorist warns as the video concludes.

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The White House has said it is working to verify the authenticity of the video as quickly as possible, and President Obama is expected to make a statement Wednesday.

Foley was kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 by gunpoint while near the northern Syrian town of Taftanaz. Foley's father, John, told the TODAY show last year that the family had not heard from his during that time. "We last knew that he was abducted on Thanksgiving Day in the Idlib province, but we don't know who took him or why."

In May 2011, Foley was detained for 44 days while covering the Libyan conflict. He was in Syria as a freelance reporter for the U.S.-based GlobalPost.

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Editor's note: UPI will not reproduce, in part or in whole, the video posted by IS. This is out of respect to the Foley family and because the video constitutes propaganda for a group designated as terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States. The above description of the video's content is published solely on an informative basis.


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