FBI identifies ISIS hostage executioner

Washington - The United States has identified the masked Islamic State militant who murdered two kidnapped American journalists in separate videotaped beheadings, FBI chief James Comey said on Thursday.

The jihadist organisation triggered global outrage when it released videos of a man with a British accent killing first James Foley then Steven Sotloff, freelance journalists who were kidnapped in Syria.

"We believe we have identified the executioner," Comey told reporters at a briefing in Washington. "I won't tell you who it is."

The British ambassador in Washington, Sir Peter Westmacott, had previously said that the allies were close to identifying the suspect.

Propaganda film

Comey did not confirm or deny reports that the suspect in the killing is British, but said the FBI was concerned that another film from the Islamic State group features someone with a North American accent.

Flames of War - a slickly produced propaganda video aimed at intimidating Western audiences and recruiting English-speaking fighters - was released earlier this month.

It features a masked militant in combat fatigues speaking in English.

"There's no doubt that there's someone speaking with a North American-accented English on that video, so that's a big focus of ours right now," Comey said.

In addition to murdering two US hostages and a Briton, the Islamic State group has seized a large tract of territory spanning eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq, in a brutal and bloody campaign.

On 8 August, President Barack Obama ordered air strikes against the group in Iraq, and this week expanded the campaign - backed by Arab allies - to hit ISIS targets across the border in Syria.

US authorities expect a long conflict against the group of at least three years, and have expressed concerns that hundreds of Muslims from Europe or the Americas have joined the group.

There are fears in Western capitals that battle-hardened fighters may return from the field and launch attacks in their homelands.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 948 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
53% - 5245 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 3327 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 322 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.21
+2.2%
Rand - Pound
19.80
+1.1%
Rand - Euro
16.70
+1.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.48
+0.6%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.6%
Gold
1,791.84
-0.1%
Silver
20.60
+0.3%
Palladium
2,255.50
+1.5%
Platinum
946.00
+0.9%
Brent Crude
96.31
-0.4%
Top 40
63,161
-1.0%
All Share
69,745
-0.8%
Resource 10
64,485
-0.9%
Industrial 25
84,636
-1.4%
Financial 15
15,760
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE