Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Associated Press that the video released by the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, showing militants beheading American journalist James Foley, “appears to be authentic.”
The U.S. officials added that President Barack Obama had been briefed about the video and an official confirmation from the White House is expected later on Wednesday.
U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, in a statement released Tuesday, said that intelligence officials were working “as quickly as possible” to determine the authenticity of the video. “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. We will provide more information when it is available,” she said.
According to a transcript of the video, released by the SITE intelligence group -- a U.S. organization that tracks the online activities of terrorist groups -- a masked ISIS militant is shown in the video accusing Obama of being “at the forefront of aggression towards the Islamic State.”
“You have plotted against us and gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military airforce is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims. 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, so effectively, any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership,” the militant reportedly says, before beheading Foley.
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The video ends with ISIS threatening to kill another man, believed to be U.S. journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, if the U.S. airstrikes continue in Iraq.