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Photojournalist purportedly beheaded in IS video

Islamic State militant group claims to have beheaded photojournalist James Foley, who went missing in Syria in 2012

The video purporting to show the beheading of James Wright Foley was posted online yesterday, (Tuesday 19 August) according to The Guardian, among other news agencies.

Militant group IS claims the video shows the death of the American photographer, who was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012, although its authenticity has yet to be confirmed.

According to news reports from The Guardian and others, a masked figure with a British accent says the killing is a response to recent air strikes in the country ordered by President Obama.

The video was later taken down by YouTube, but not before it went viral. It also includes a threat to kill freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, who has been missing since August 2013, reports Time magazine.

Jean Francois Leroy on his Facebook page this morning urged people not to watch or share the video. The director of photojournalism festival Visa Pour l’Image shared a Facebook post written by Carsten Stormer, a photographer and writer for German-based organisation, Zeitenspiegel Reportagen, which urges people not to share the video to “honour [Foley’s] life”, and avoid giving the IS free propaganda.

Foley, who has reported from Afghanistan and Libya where he was captured and held for six weeks in 2011, had been covering the conflict in Syria for online news organisation GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse.

He went missing from Binnish in northern Syria in November 2012.

A message from Foley’s mother, Diane, on the Facebook page ‘Find James Foley’ said the family “had never been prouder” of their son, who “gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.”

She wrote: “We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.”

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