The ISIS militant who gruesomely beheaded American journalist James Foley, and posted a video of the barbaric execution online, has been identified by the British and U.S. intelligence services as “John,” a Londoner, who heads up a group of British Jihadis.
The Telegraph reported on Thursday that John leads his group which specializes in hostage taking, and is based in the city of Raqqa, an Islamic State-controlled area of Syria.
What is even more scary is the fact that John, being British born and bred, is considered “well-educated, intelligent, but a highly committed member of the extremist terror group,” according to The Telegraph.
And no one can say ISIS members don’t have a sense of humor as John’s merry band of thugs have been nicknamed “The Beatles” — due to their nationality — by other Islamists on social media.
Interpol, based in France, is most concerned with John and has said that the gruesome beheading proves there is an urgent need “for a multilateral response against the terror threat posed by radicalized transnational fighters travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East.”
It was also reported by various media outlets that President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including James Foley, but were unable to find them.
Even though a few dozen special ops people were sent to Syria, instead of locating the hostages they ended up having firefights with ISIS terrorists, killing a few.
Lisa Monaco, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, said in a statement:
“The US government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens. Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present”.
Despite the threats by ISIS to kill the other U.S. journalist they have in captivity, Steven Sotloff, if airstrikes persist against them, the Obama administration continued to hit ISIS targets on Wednesday.
There’s no doubt the administration is taking the threat from ISIS more seriously and now understand better what the Israeli’s have to deal with against Hamas, a terrorist organisation almost identical in its ideology to ISIS.
Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, told reporters, also on Wednesday: “As we have said repeatedly, the United States government is committed to the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity. In this case, we put the best of the United States military in harm’s way to try and bring our citizens home.”
It seems likely that ISIS will keep to its threat and behead the other journalist they are holding. If it does, it will certainly ratchet up the pressure on President Obama for a greater degree of U.S. involvement, and it could be that American boots will be back on the ground in Iraq sometime soon.