The Muslim terrorist group ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has released video footage of a man being beheaded by the group, who is believed to be an American freelance journalist held hostage in Iraq for two years.
James Foley, 40, appeared Tuesday in the release of a video entitled Message to America, which was posted to social media sites by a member of ISIS.
A masked Islamic fighter also appears in the footage, with a man in an orange suit identified as the journalist kneeling by his side. Foley then proceeds to present a speech, which some believe was crafted or influenced largely by his captors.
“I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government,” he states. “For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.”
“My message to my beloved parents [is to] save me some dignity and don’t accept any meager compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with their recent aerial campaign in Iraq,” Foley continues, then appeals to his brother, John, who serves in the U.S. military. “Think about the lives you destroy, including those of your own family. Think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”
The ISIS fighter also issues a warning in the video to anyone that might interfere with Islamic rule, including to Barack Obama.
“Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq,” he says. “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 any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people,” the masked terrorist warns.
He then proceeds to decapitate Foley.
TIME Journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, who has been missing since last year, also appears in the video footage as threats are made that he will meet the same fate if the U.S. continues airstrikes on the Muslim group.
“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the ISIS fighter declares.
Foley’s mother, Diane, released a statement following word of her son’s death.
“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,” she said. “We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person.”
“We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents,” Foley stated. “They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.”
As previously reported, ISIS members also released video footage threatening the U.S. on Monday, the day before Foley’s execution was posted online. The short, 45-second video contained the message “We will drown all of you in blood” and simulated blood splattering an American flag.
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