UPDATE 12:07 p.m. EDT: U.S. intelligence sources say the video of James Foley being beheaded is authentic, the Wall Street Journal tweeted.
The White House was aware of a threat by the Islamic State to kill journalist James Foley before the militant group released a video Tuesday showing Foley’s apparent beheading, according to a report from ABC News. The White House couldn't immediately be reached for comment to confirm the report or whether any steps were taken to try and rescue Foley. IS, formerly known as ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, made a threat that it would kill Foley in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes targeting the militant group in Iraq, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.
In the video, Foley, an American photojournalist who was working for the Global Post in Syria, is dressed in an orange jumpsuit and kneeling on the ground while a man dressed in black holds a knife. Foley then reads a “message to America,” presumably written by his captors, that blames America for Foley’s impending beheading. The video then shows the man dressed in black start cutting at Foley’s head with the knife before a short blackout. The next shot appears to show Foley’s detached head on top of his body.
The militant then holds up another man by the head, who he claims to be journalist Steven Sotloff. He said Sotloff’s fate depends on U.S. President Barack Obama’s “next decision.”
The U.S. has yet to confirm that the video supposedly showing Foley’s beheading is authentic, although the FBI believes the video is authentic, according to the Global Post. The journalist’s family released a statement indicating that he was dead. Still, the family held out hope that the video was faked.
“We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” said his mother, Diane Foley. “We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world. We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”