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The ISIS on Tuesday posted a video showing the beheading of a man it said was a US journalist missing since 2012, and threatened to kill another American in its custody if President Barack Obama didn't end military strikes in Iraq.
James Foley, a freelance journalist, was last seen in Syria on November 22, 2012, and was believed to have been captured by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
The four-minute video was posted on YouTube and Al-Furqan Media, which has been used by the ISIS before to post messages and videos. YouTube took down the video later.
US authorities are trying to confirm the authenticity of the video and ascertain the identity of the man beheaded. "We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of US citizen James Foley by ISIS. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity," said President Barack Obama's National Security Council in a statement.
Titled "A message to America", the video, hosted by SITE, a website that says it monitors "jihadist threat", opens with Foley in an orange jumpsuit, the kind worn by inmates of US prisons, including those at Guantanamo Bay. An ISIS fighter, face covered, stands on his left.
"I call on my friends, family, and loved (sic) to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency … criminality," Foley says, looking into the camera.
The fighter then speaks, in flawless English: "Today, your military air force (sic) is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims."
He then addresses President Obama. "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."
He stops. The video, as hosted by SITE, ends there with the screen breaking into a static. But a transcript posted alongside says the fighter then beheaded Foley.
Holding the second American captive, another journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, before the camera now, the fighter says, "The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision."
Sotloff, who reported on Egypt, Syria, and Libya for Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor and the National Interest, was last seen on August 4, 2013.