James Foley beheading: British spy agencies MI5, MI6 identify killer

Days after the Islamic State posted a video showing the gruesome beheading of a US journalist James Foley, British intelligence agencies have identified the killer, better known as `Jihadi John`, reports said Sunday.

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

London: Days after the Islamic State posted a video showing the gruesome beheading of a US journalist James Foley, British intelligence agencies have identified the killer, better known as `Jihadi John`, reports said Sunday.

After a massive manhunt undertaken to find the details about the killer, British spy agencies MI5 and MI6 have identified `Jihadi John` – the man with the British accent in the video who killed the American journalist, a Sunday Times report informed, citing senior government sources.

While the killer`s details have not been made public, Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, is said to be the key suspect, wh0 recently tweeted a picture of himself, holding a severed head, added the report.

Abdel Bary left his family’s £1m home in Maida Vale, west London, last year.

An earlier report in the Guardian reported that the Foley`s killer was a member of a British jihadi group known as `The Beatles`. 

The group, nicknamed “The Beatles” owing to their British origin, handles international hostages, a former hostage said. 

James Foley`s beheading by the Islamic State drew worldwide condemnation and added to the concerns of Britain in particular as the killer was heard speaking in a British accent and was thought to be a UK citizen.

Shaken by the truth that the killer was a British, the UK has ordered elite troops from the SAS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), geared with sophisticated equipments to conduct high-tech operations inside Syria and Iraq, to hunt the extremist in the video, reported the Daily Mail.

The British special forces (SAS and SRR) which have been deployed in Iraq and Syria), will try to “identify British jihadis on the battlefield by intercepting their radio messages”,”the report quoted an SAS source as saying.

“When they’re captured by the Iraqis or Kurds we’ll take a close interest in their questioning,” the source added.

The British government has enough reasons to be worried as “John” presents a scary picture about the extent of radicalisation among British Muslims. 

Writing in the Sunday Times, British Foreign Secretary said that the beheading betrayed Britain.

He added that it was “horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain”.

“ISIS is turning a swathe of Iraq and Syria into a terrorists state as a base for launching attacks on the West,” Hammond warned.

Some 500 British citizens have reportedly left UK and travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight along with the extremists in past few years.

Speaking about the British strategy to tackle this threat, Hammond said the UK was “investing significant resources to tackle this problem for the long-term".

Also, Home Secretary Theresa May has said the government is looking at new powers to tackle the threat of extremism in Britain.

According to a BBC report, Theresa is looking forward to introduce what is called as "Asbos for terrorists" for those who try to radicalise the British citizens.

According to the new measures, the groups that fan terrorism could be banned, even if they "fall short of the legal threshold".

The jihadist group - Islamic State, that has established a Caliphate across the captured areas of Iraq and Syria, posted a video purportedly showing the execution of American journalist James Foley and threatened to kill another US journalist unless the United States gets out of Iraq.  

The nearly five-minute video titled "A Message To America" showed a masked militant who speaks English with a British accent beheading a man resembling Foley. The freelance photo journalist was missing since he was captured by the militants in the northern Syrian province of Idlib on November 22, 2012.  

In the grisly video, Foley is seen donning an orange outfit, kneeling on the ground. 

The terrorists have issued a warning to America saying they will be drowned in blood in retaliation to President Barack Obama’s decision to order air strikes against IS (also known as ISIS) militants in Iraq.

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