U.S. launches criminal probe of Foley murder; Islamic State asked $135m ransom

A criminal investigation has been launched into the beheading of American journalist James Foley, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said. A video was released of the reporter being killed by an Islamic State militant, in which the group says it is acting in retaliation for U.S. air strikes targeting its fighters in Iraq. Counterterrorism police in the UK have already begun efforts to identify the man beheading the 40-year-old. Although his face is covered, he speaks with a British accent.

[This highlights] the need for a multilateral response against the terror threat posed by radicalised transnational fighters travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East.

Ronald Noble, Interpol secretary-general

People previously held hostage by the Islamic State have suggested he may be a jihadist known as “John” who was part of a group guarding captives in Syria. A former hostage, who was held for a year in the Syrian town of Raqqa, told The Guardian the killer was the ringleader of a trio of UK-born extremists the captives nicknamed “the Beatles” because of their nationality. Intelligence services are sifting through the gruesome footage for clues to the murderer’s identity. U.S. airs trikes have continued against ISIL forces in northern Iraq, despite the group threatening to kill a second American captive if the attacks go on.