Missing U.S. Journalist Reportedly Beheaded In Video Released By ISIS


This post has been updated.

A militant group that has terrorized areas under its control in Syria and Iraq released a video Tuesday that purportedly showed the execution of James Foley, an American photojournalist who has been missing since 2012.

Zaid Benjamin, a D.C. reporter for Radio Sawa, an Arabic-language news outlet, reported that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria said the video was “a message to U.S. to end its intervention in Iraq.” The video first appeared on YouTube, but has since been removed.

BuzzFeed quoted two people who knew Foley saying that the person in the video looked and sounded like him.

The White House acknowledged the video but could not yet confirm its authenticity. “The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity,” National Security Counsel spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. “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.”

Foley has been missing since November 2012, as the Guardian reported last year. He was last seen in northwestern Syria, according to the newspaper. At that time, it was believed that he was being held by the Syrian government, but the Foleys told The Guardian that they had started to doubt that information.

As late as January 2014, according to Foreign Policy, it was unclear who was holding Foley. Foley had been providing material to Agence France-Presse and the Global Post from Syria, The Guardian reported.

Free James Foley, a group founded to advocate for his release, appeared to acknowledge the video’s release in a Facebook post.