French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is facing a police investigation after tweeting pictures of the decapitated body of Islamic State victim James Foley, in a move his parents have said "deeply disturbed" them.
The Front National leader shared the image of Foley, who was murdered by IS militants last year, along with pictures of other atrocities carried out by the terrorist group to her 830,000 followers.
French prosecutors on Thursday confirmed it had launched an investigation into Le Pen's "dissemination of violent images'".
Marine Le Pen is being investigated by police over tweets she sent containing graphic imagines of Islamic State victims including James Foley
Le Pen, whose party on Sunday flopped in the French regional elections, captioned the images she posted: 'This is Daesh' - the Arabic acronym for IS - and showed Foley's bloodied corpse with his decapitated head on his torso. She also sent pictures of a man on fire in a cage, and a victim being driven over by a tank. The images, which mainstream media have refrained from using, were still visible on her account on Thursday.
Foley's parents John and Diane want Le Pen to remove the "shamefully uncensored" image of their son, and for her to stop using his image for political gain.
James Foley was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August 2014
In a statement they said: "We are deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pen's political gain and hope that the picture of our son, along with the two other graphic photographs, are taken down immediately."
Foley, a freelance journalist was captured in Syria in 2012 and was beheaded in August 2014.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the photos Le Pen shared as "monstrous".
He wrote on Twitter: "Madame Le Pen: inflaming public debate, political and moral failing, non-respect for victims."
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was said to have alerted police to Le Pen's tweets. He described the pictures as "Daesh propaganda and are a disgrace, an abomination and an absolute insult to all victims of... Daesh".
Front National lawmaker Gilbert Collard, who is also under investigation, also tweeted a picture of an IS victim, but chose one that was far less graphic.
"We are only showing the hate-filled ignominy of those who (compare) us with killers," he is reported as saying.