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Hunt is on for James Foley’s executioner, ‘Jihadi John’

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Officials in America and Britain are scrutinizing the barbaric and sadistic beheading video of American freelance journalist James Foley in an attempt to identify the terrorist with the British accent who killed him. Foley was kidnapped at gunpoint in northern Syria on Thanksgiving Day, 2012, and had not been heard from since the video depicting his beheading was uploaded to YouTube, according to an Aug. 22 report from The Daily News.

The Islamic militants posting Foley’s execution video said that the journalist was killed in retaliation for the U.S. air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. The video has revealed several clues to the hooded ISIS executioner’s identity, known only as 'Jihadi John.’ Officials investigating Foley’s death are using “voice-recognition technology as one of their tools in the search for the British suspect.”

In additional to the possibility of matching a voice-print to Foley’s killer, the four-minute video also helps to show the executioner’s height and the fact that he’s left-handed, “a trait shared by only 10% of people,” according to The National Post. Officials also know that the video was posted to YouTube by “the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS),” and that the footage “was shot using high-quality equipment, which will also play into investigators’ hands because of the clarity of the image and the killer’s voice.”

An analyst specializing in forensic voice and speech, Elizabeth McClelland, said that the executioner’s accent is consistent with natives from South London and that the killer “spoke English as his first language, with the possible influence of Farsi, which could suggest a family link to Afghanistan.” McClelland also said that experts with MI5 will be comparing the voice heard on the video to voices already kept on file in the hopes of identifying a match. And because we know Foley’s exact height, the executioner’s height will be easily determined by experts. Regarding Jihadi John’s possible identification:

His slim body shape and the colour of his skin — which suggests he is black or of Asian origin — will further help to narrow their search.

Even his beige desert boots may enhance their knowledge of where he has been.

The distinctive military commando knife used in Foley’s beheading and the gun held by the executioner may also help identify the terrorist as investigators try to determine where those weapons were procured. Analysts will also be looking at the geographical topography visible in the video to try and determine a precise location for Foley’s execution. Officials from the U.S. and England are also receiving reports that Foley’s executioner is indeed Jihadi John, the infamous ringleader of a group of British jihadis based out of London specializing in terrorist kidnappings.

Based in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, “John” is described as well-educated, intelligent and highly committed.

Because he works closely with two other British-born militants, fellow jihadists have nicknamed them “The Beatles.”

The London Evening Standard shared that another hostage, dressed in an orange robe similar to Foley’s was also depicted in Foley’s execution video. That hostage is believed to be American journalist Steven Sotloff who was taken hostage in Syria about a year ago. The executioner sent a direct message to U.S. President Barack Obama on the video, saying “The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.” President Obama responded:

“The United States will continue to do what we must do to protect our people,” he said.

“We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

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