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James Foley's Killer 'Identified By Security Services'

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Security services have reportedly identified the British jihadi who butchered US journalist James Foley.

The Sunday Times quoted (£) "senior government sources" who said the man, nicknamed "Jihadi John", had been identified but they did not name him.

But Britain's ambasador to the US, Sir Peter Westmacott, told Meet The Press: "We're not in a position to say exactly who this is but I think we are close."

He said "sophisticated" voice recognition equipment was being used to identify the killer.

It comes as Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the fanatics of Islamic State (IS) were “turning a swathe of Iraq and Syria into a terrorist state as a base for launching attacks on the West” and said British jihadis fighting with them were "an utter betrayal" to what Britain stood for.

Writing in The Sunday Times, he warned that, unless the terrorists are stopped, “sooner or later they will seek to strike us on British soil”.

journalist james foley

James Foley's murderer spoke with a British accent

Hammond wrote: “It is horrifying to think that the perpetrator of this heinous act could have been brought up in Britain."

He said Foley’s death “is a reminder to us all that Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria is not only causing huge suffering in those countries but is also a barbaric ideology threatening us at home”.

Meanwhile, The government has been urged to strip British jihadists of their citizenship.

Former shadow home secretary David Davis dismissed suggestions that possible new laws, dubbed asbos for terrorists, would prevent Britons fighting for Islamic State (IS) and said they must instead be stopped from returning to the UK.

Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, also called for Britons fighting for IS in Iraq and Syria to lose their passports.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Lord Carey said: "They should not have access to the privilege of travelling under a British passport . . . and they certainly should not be able to travel back with the barbaric and bloodthirsty skills they have gained."

Home Secretary Theresa May is poised to bring in new laws to tackle British extremists in the wake of the horrific killing of US journalist James Foley by a jihadist with an English accent.

But Mr Davis said the Government's response to the crisis in Iraq had been 'tentative, uncertain, almost limp" and suggested the men heading overseas to fight were committing treason.

In an article for the Mail on Sunday, Mr Davis wrote: "Asbos for terrorists? It is hard to imagine the ISIS killers quaking in their boots."

foley

Philip Hammond said the murder was 'an utter betrayal' of everything Britain stands for

He added: "Since these young men are in effect swearing allegiance to a hostile state, they should all forfeit their British citizenship - not just those who are dual nationals.

"Since this is an incredibly serious penalty, it should be done only after a proper public trial carrying all the public seriousness and opprobrium of a murder trial, because in many cases that is what it would be.

"As the Home Secretary reiterated yesterday, lawyers would say you cannot render someone stateless. Perhaps, perhaps not. Whitehall lawyers have been wrong before. Democracies have a right to defend themselves.

"IS is claiming to be a state. They can issue these young men with Islamic State passports if they so wish. It is not our problem that they would have trouble getting into any civilised country with them."

What we know about James Foley's killer
  • 1
    He was part of a group of four Brits called 'The Beatles' based in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa
    A former hostage, who was held for a year in the Syrian town of Raqqa, has told the Guardian that the killer was the ringleader of a trio of UK-born extremists the captives nicknamed "The Beatles" because of their nationality.
  • 2
    He was the ringleader, and in charge of guarding foreign hostages
    DON EMMERT via Getty Images
    The masked killer who murdered Foley is known as 'John' to the group.
  • 3
    He is left-handed
    Only 10% of the world's population are left-handed. All of the information from the video will be analysed rigorously by intelligence services, including the way he holds his weapon, his height, body movement and intonation. MI5 have a database of Brits they believe have travelled to Syria, and they will be comparing what they know about each one, the Telegraph reported.
  • 4
    He is probably from south London but could have family links to Afghanistan
    MACIEJ NOSKOWSKI via Getty Images
    Dr Claire Hardaker, a linguistics experts at Lancaster University, has told several media outlets that the man's vowels marked him out as likely from the south-east of England, but most likely from London. Elizabeth McClelland, a forensic voice and speech analyst, told the Telegraph the accent has "possible influences of Farsi, which could suggest a family link to Afghanistan".
  • 5
    He was probably chosen for the job because his British accent would be more sinister for Western viewers of the video
    TAUSEEF MUSTAFA via Getty Images
    "This is significant because it signifies a turn towards threatening the west. They are saying we're going to come after you if you bomb us," Prof Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, at King's College London told the Guardian.
  • 6
    He emailed the Foley family, furious about the US airstrikes, informing them he would kill their son
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Foley's family had been emailed by ISIS as early as last Wednesday and were informed that the terror group intended to execute the reporter in retaliation for US air strikes against Isis targets in northern Iraq. GlobalPost chief executive, Philip Balboni said that ISIS "made no demands", just informed the family the execution was going to take place. They tried to engage him in conversation, but to no avail, because the jihadist was fuelled by "seething anger".
  • 7
    He had previously wanted a ransom to spare Foley's life, but the US government did not pay
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    According to the New York Times who spoke to a family representative and a captive held alognside Foley, ISIS demanded the United States to provide a $100 million ransom ransom for Foley's life, but unlike several other European countries who did pay out, the US refused.
  • 8
    He was the main negotiator in the release of 11 IS hostages earlier this year
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Almost a dozen hostages, some held for over six months, were handed to Turkish officials. They included two Spanish journalists, one pictured here, Javier Espinosa.
  • 9
    The militants foiled an attempted rescue by US Special Ops
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    US President Barack Obama sent troops to Syria this summer to rescue a number of Americans being held hostage, including Foley, senior administration officials said. Several dozen special operations troops who were dropped by aircraft into Syria did not find them and engaged in a firefight with IS militants before departing.
  • 10
    The killer treated Foley differently and more harshly that other hostages
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    French journalist Nicolas Henin spent seven months in captivity with Foley, including a week where they were handcuffed together, telling the BBC Foley was treated as "some kind of scapegoat" and was beaten more frequently. "Some countries like America but also like the UK do not negotiate and, well, they put their people at risk," he said.