Britain voices 'absolute horror' at IS beheading
LONDON/PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the executioner in the beheading video appeared to be British and work was under way to verify his background. AP PhotoBritish Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Wednesday voiced his "absolute horror" at the apparent beheading of US journalist James Foley, which he said showed the "brutality" of Islamic State jihadists.
Hammond said the executioner in the beheading video appeared to be British and work was under way to verify his background.
He also said European extremists fighting with IS posed a security threat if they attempted to return home.
Hammond told BBC radio his reaction was "Horror, absolute horror at what appears to be a brutal execution.
"It just is one more example in a catalogue of brutality by this organisation."
He said IS "atrocities" in Iraq and Syria were "completely horrifying and shocking" and were driving the international community's efforts to support Iraqis and Kurds in pushing back against the "evil organisation".
The masked executioner in the video speaks English with a British accent.
"On the face of it, it appears to have been a British person. We'll have to do some more analysis to make quite certain that that is the case," Hammond said.
"There are significant numbers of British nationals in Syria, increasingly in Iraq," he said, who pose a "direct threat to our own national security" if they seek to return with "the tradecraft that they've learned working with these terrorist organisations".
Around 400 Britons are believed to have gone to Syria over the last two years.
British extremists are among the most "most vicious and vociferous fighters" in the IS ranks, a jihadism expert has said.
Hollande says to propose 'initiative' against IS
French President Francois Hollande has said he would next month arrange an international conference on the threat posed by Islamic extremists in Iraq, describing the current international situation as "the most serious since 2001".
"I think we are in the most serious international situation since 2001 ... I will therefore propose an initiative on security in Iraq and the fight against Islamic State, from September," Hollande told Le Monde daily according to a text released in advance by his office.