In an apparent response to recent U.S. intervention in the region, ISIS militants have released a video documenting the beheading of American photojournalist James Wright Foley. Foley, who was captured in Libya in 2012 and then again in Syria later that same year, was a freelancer who worked frequently with the “Global Post.”
In recent weeks, the Obama administration has increased military pressure on the embattled region, even voicing rhetoric to the effect that, although loath to do so, he would not rule out deploying ground troops to combat the Islamic extremist group. The stated purpose of this pressure, which has materialized in the form of airstrikes on ISIS targets and the aiding of Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the assault on a strategically important dam, has been to cripple ISIS’s insurgency and to galvanize the Iraqi people into fighting back.
The video, which was reported by Gawker within the past hour, was released subsequent to social media posts affiliated with ISIS and its insurgency claiming that, “We have a prisoner from USA.” Stills from the beheading were posted on Twitter by @Mujahid4life. Reportedly titled, “A Message to America,” the video makes its intended purpose horrifically clear: the United States is to end its involvement in Iraq, or its citizens will suffer the consequences.
It has been estimated that, prior to his beheading, Foley had been held prisoner for almost two years. The “Global Post” reported on the circumstances of his capture last year, relaying that witnesses near the Turkish border saw Foley abducted by men brandishing AK-47s. Efforts to learn of his whereabouts and well-being up until this point had been fruitless.
Foley was one of many journalists that had gone missing during civil unrest in Syria. He was 39 years old.