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‘Foley beheading video was staged’

world Updated: Aug 25, 2014 23:34 IST
James Foley

The gruesome video of an Islamist militant beheading an American journalist was probably staged with the actual murder taking place off-camera, according to forensic experts.

Footage of James Foley’s death at the hands of a British ISIS militant shocked the world when it went viral last week with President Barack Obama describing the terror group as a “cancer”.

A study of the four-minute 40-second clip, carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain, has raised a number of questions about what really happened on a patch of desert land, thought to be somewhere in northern Syria.

However the company did not reach a definitive answer.

It concluded: “No one is disputing that at some point an execution occurred.” “I think it has been staged,” said one expert in visual forensics, after he was commissioned by The Times to examine the footage. Meanwhile, Britain’s security agencies were still working on identifying Foley’s killer, but official sources said they were ‘close’ to tracking him and his life here.

The killer depicted in the video released by ISIS seemed to have a London accent. According to British ambassador to the US Peter Westmacott, voice recognition technology had been used to pin down the identity of the man, believed to be a British-born militant from London.

“We are not far away from that (identifying the man who beheaded Foley),” Westmacott said in an interview on US television.