MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – American journalist James Foley may have been murdered by Islamic State militants a year ago, The Daily Mail reported, citing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s official spokesperson, Bouthaina Shaaban.
“James Foley was first arrested by the Free Syrian Army and he was sold to ISIS [an earlier name for the IS]. You can check with the UN…James Foley was killed a year ago, not now, they only released the pictures now, but he was killed a year ago. We have definite information, the UN has the information,” Shaaban said as cited by The Daily Mail.
Last week, the shocking video of Foley being beheaded by the jihadist group was broadcasted all around the world. The jarring footage was entitled “The Message to America.” The journalist’s executioner, who spoke with a British accent, said Foley was killed because US President Barack Obama had ordered airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq.
On August 12, Foley‘s family received a letter from IS militants that warned of the journalist’s execution. The letter was published by GlobalPost, with the Foley family’s consent, to provide transparency and tell the journalist’s story in full.
On Monday, a team of experts said the video documenting the beheading may have been staged. However, there was no doubt that the reporter was killed, with the actual murder happening off-camera.
According to UK security services, the main suspect in Foley’s murder is west London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, also known by the IS militants as “Jihadi John.”
About 500 Britons are believed to be fighting for the IS in Syria, as well as several hundred individuals from the United States and Canada.
The Islamic State militant group was previously known as either the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). On June 29, after weeks of fighting in Iraq and Syria and the seizure of vast territories in the two countries, the group proclaimed itself a “caliphate” and changed its name to the Islamic State.
The group’s leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, has claimed religious authority over all Muslims globally.