WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may not be suitable for all readers
The militant Islamist group on a deadly rampage through Iraq and Syria has released a gruesome video showing the beheading of a man who may be missing American Journalist.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) claims to have killed freelance journalist James Foley, who went missing in Syria on Nov. 22, 2012.
ISIS also claims another U.S. journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, who disappeared in Syria on Aug. 4, 2013, is being held captive and warned he may be killed as well.
The murder of Foley, if confirmed, appears to be in response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s authorization of targeted airstrikes against ISIS, which now refers to itself as the Islamic state or IS.
“Obama authorizes military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslims,” a message states at the start of the video before a clip from Obama’s Aug. 7 authorization of targeted airstrikes against ISIS in northern Iraq.
Two U.S. officials say they believe Foley was the victim in the video.
Separately, Foley’s family confirmed his death in a statement posted on a webpage that was created to rally support for his release.
In the statement, Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, said her son, quote, “gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.”
One of the U.S. officials said President Barack Obama was expected to make a statement about the killing on Wednesday.
The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the video by name.
Social media image verification service Storyful alerted subscribers that the identity of the man in the video is indeed Foley, but noted “the man resembles Foley precisely” and that it was posted with “the logo of al-Furqan productions, a media account associated with the Islamic State.”
The video has since been removed from YouTube and other video hosting services.
Storyful reported the American man in the video is shown, at about four minutes and 20 seconds into the video, kneeling on the ground in an orange robe — reminiscent of what prisoners at Guantanamo Bay wore — when a man shrouded head-to-toe in a black robe and head cover “places a knife to the neck of the man.”
The video then shows the man’s body lying on the ground.
Before being beheaded, the man in the video is made to read a message, blaming the U.S. government for his murder.
“I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers the U.S. government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality. My message to my beloved parents. 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 from their recent aerial campaign in Iraq,” Storyful reported the message saying.
According to Storyful, the militant who carried out the murder warned the other American man, purportedly Sotloff, could also be killed. “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the veiled militant said in English.
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Prior to going missing in 2012, Foley had worked as a freelance journalist for PBS Newshour, NBC News and GlobalPost, which had “mounted an extensive international investigation” into his disappearance. Other than Syria, he had reported from conflict zones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
During his time working in Libya in 2011, Foley was kidnapped by forces loyal to former leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi and held captive for 44 days.
GlobalPost said Tuesday it is “working hard to confirm more information” about Foley’s reported beheading.
-With files from The Associated Press