Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary has reportedly been identified the ISIS militant who beheaded American journalist James Foley in a video released this week.
Reports over the last several days had indicated that British intelligence forces were focusing in on the 23-year-old former London resident, who had achieved some fame in the UK for his rap career. Sources say that Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary left his family’s upscale home in London last year to join ISIS.
Bary is believed to have traveled to Syria, and recently tweeted a picture of himself holding a severed head.
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary had a somewhat successful rap career, with some of his songs earning play on BBC radio. In early songs he made references to drug use and violence, as well as the threat of his family being deported to Egypt. His father, Adel Abdul Bary, was extradited from Britain to the United States on charges of terrorism in 2012 and was believed to be a close lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.
“It’s hard to progress in the future with a damaged past but still I try to count my blessings and I thank Allah,” he rapped in 2012.
“I’m trying to change my ways but there’s blood on my hands and I can’t change my ways until there’s funds in the bank.
“I can’t differentiate the angels from the demons, my heart’s disintegrating. I ain’t got normal feelings.
“Even my life’s blessed, still I will not find rest.”
In the James Foley beheading video, a masked executioner with a British accent read a statement warning the United States not to enter the conflict. The man later severed Foley’s neck with a knife and cut off is head.
Experts believe that British forces had likely identified Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary not long after the video was released.
Professor Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, said authorities were likely quite familiar with the British suspect.
He said: “I’d be very surprised if they haven’t already narrowed it down to a small group of people.
“The video provides enough clues to show who is responsible. MI6 probably do have a rough idea already of where the hostages are. The intelligence agencies probably have it narrowed down to two or three people.”
British intelligence has not officially confirmed that Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary is the suspect in the James Foley beheading.