Islamic militants released a video showing the beheading of a man they said was kidnapped U.S. journalist James Foley and threatened to kill a second American unless President Barack Obama calls off airstrikes on Iraq.
The intelligence community is working to determine the authenticity of the footage, U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. Two U.S. officials investigating the case, who asked not to be named as the probe into the video continued, said last night that they believe Foley was the victim.
“We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL,” said Hayden, referring to the Islamic State, which has seized a swath of Iraq and Syria. “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.”
It risks backfiring in Iraq, and might help Obama make a case to the American public for an expanded offensive against Islamic State militants, said John Nagl, a former Army commander in Iraq who helped write a counterinsurgency field manual for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.