British fighter appears to have role in Foley beheading

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British fighter appears to have role in Foley beheading
FILE - In this May 27, 2011 file photo American Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., poses for a photo in Boston. The parents of Foley, kidnapped in Syria more than four months ago, said Thursday April 4, 2013 that his latest disappearance is more upsetting than an earlier one in Libya because they don’t know who is holding him. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

A screen grab from a video posted to YouTube by ISIS that claims to show journalist James Foley, who was abducted in 2012 while covering the Syria civil war, being beheaded.

(YouTube)

Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., responds to questions during an interview with The Associated Press, in Boston, Friday, May 27, 2011. Foley, who was working for the Boston-based GlobalPost while reporting on the conflict in Libya, was captured along with two others by Libyan government forces on April 5, 2011. Foley, American freelance journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, of New Haven, Conn., and Spanish photographer Manu Brabo were released by Libyan authorities last week. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FILE - This undated file still image from video released April 7, 2011, by GlobalPost, shows James Foley of Rochester, N.H., a freelance contributor for GlobalPost, in Benghazi, Libya. A Libyan government spokesman says four journalists detained since early April have completed an administrative hearing and will be released Tuesday or Wednesday.(AP Photo/GlobalPost, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2013 file photo, Diane and John Foley speak about their son, James Foley, 39, a journalist who was kidnapped in Syria by unknown gunmen on Nov. 22, 2012, during a news conference at their home in Rochester, N.H. James Foley disappeared while working for Agence France-Press in Syria. His parents do not know where he is or who is holding him. They are in Wisconsin for a Friday night, April 5, 2013 vigil for their son at Marquette University, where he studied history. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
John and Diane Foley, parents of journalist James Foley, are photographed at their home in Rochester, N.H., Wednesday, May 18, 2011 before holding a press conference about the release of their son. James Foley, a correspondent for the Boston-based news organization Global Post, was one of four western journalists freed Wednesday by Libyan authorities in Tripoli. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Journalist James Foley, of Rochester, N.H., responds to questions during an interview with The Associated Press, in Boston, Friday, May 27, 2011. Foley, who was working for the Boston-based GlobalPost while reporting on the conflict in Libya, was captured along with two others by Libyan government forces on April 5, 2011. Foley, American freelance journalist Clare Morgana Gillis, of New Haven, Conn., and Spanish photographer Manu Brabo were released by Libyan authorities last week. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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LONDON (AP) - The black-clad Islamic militant fighter who appears in a video beheading American journalist James Foley appears to be British, the U.K. foreign minister said Wednesday - a development that underscores the insurgents' increasingly sophisticated use of Western fighters to mobilize recruits and terrorize enemies.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the man in the video with Foley "appears to have been a British person."

He spoke after U.S. officials confirmed as authentic the grisly video showing an Islamic State militant beheading Foley and threatening to kill another hostage.

The masked militant in the clip speaks fluent English with what Lancaster University linguist Claire Hardaker said sounds like a London accent.

Hammond told the BBC that Britain was aware that U.K. nationals were involved in committing atrocities with Islamic State extremists and other organizations.

Hammond says the possible involvement of a Briton underscored the risks that those now fighting with Islamic militants could return to Britain and carry out attacks at home.

British officials have said that several hundred people from Britain have traveled to Syria to join the battle against President Bashar Assad, and some may have crossed into Iraq as part of the rapid advance of the Islamic State group. French and German officials have recently put the combined total of those countries around 1,300.

Shiraz Maher of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College London, said the video was evidence that British jihadis were "some of the most vicious and vociferous fighters" in Syria and Iraq.

"Unfortunately the British participation in the conflicts now raging in both Syria and Iraq has been has been one of full participation, one that has seen them at the front lines, taking part in the conflict in every way," Maher told BBC radio. "So we have seen British fighters out there operating as suicide bombers, we have seen them operating as executioners."

The group has previously used Western fighters in its recruitment videos. In June, it released a video showing British and Australian militants exhorting compatriots to join them in violent jihad.

Nigel Inkster, a terrorism expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the videos reflected an increasingly sophisticated media strategy designed to energize recruits and deliver to Western governments and citizens a message "of fear and a perception of inevitability."

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