FBI: We Know Identity of Islamic State Militant in Beheading Videos

FBI Director James Comey tells reporters militant who killed two American journalists in online videos has been identified, refuses to give further details.

Julia Edwards
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 A still from the execution video of Jewish American journalist Steven Sotloff.
A still from the execution video of Jewish American journalist Steven Sotloff. Credit: Reuters
Julia Edwards

REUTERS - The masked Islamic State militant in the videos depicting the beheading of two Americans has been identified, FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday, but he did not give the person's name or nationality.

Comey, speaking to a small group of reporters, declined to give further details about the suspect. He said roughly one dozen Americans were known to be fighting with militants in Syria, and that many who fought there had already returned to the United States.

The videos of the killings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff showed a masked Islamic State militant brandishing a knife and speaking English with a British accent.

The actual beheadings are not shown on the videos, one of which was released in August and the other in September. What appears to be the same masked militant is shown later on the videos with the decapitated bodies.

The video implies that the masked militant is the person who carried out the killing, but investigators are still working to determine who did the beheading.

The British ambassador to the United States, Peter Westmacott, told CNN shortly after Foley's killing in August that Britain was putting a great deal of effort into identifying the suspect with voice-recognition technology. Westmacott said at that point law enforcement was close to identifying the man.

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