Just a day into his summer break, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has returned to work to address the situation in Iraq, after the video of journalist James Wright Foley allegedly being executed was released by ISIL. The White House has been working to confirm the video since yesterday evening, though the FBI said this morning that they believe it is authentic.
Cameron offered this statement on his decision, "If true, the brutal murder of James Foley is shocking and depraved." His office announced "[Cameron] will meet with the Foreign Secretary and senior officials from the Home Office, Foreign Office and the agencies to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) terrorists."
Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, also addressed the video this morning. Immediately after the video was posted, observers on social media began speculating where the executioner's accent was from. While Zaid Benjamin, who broke the story to U.S. media, believes the executioner is from somewhere in North Africa, others place the accent as one from South East/Greater London. Hammond believes the accent is British as well. "We are very concerned by the apparent fact that the murderer in question is British."
"We’ve been saying for a very long time that there are a significant number of British nationals, both in Syria and Iraq, operating with extremist organisations. And that is one of the reasons why this organisation represents such a direct threat to the UK’s national security," Hammond said in a statement, "Many of these people may seek at some point to return to the UK and they would then pose a direct threat to our domestic security. This is a poison, a cancer, what’s going on in Iraq and Syria, and it risks spreading to other parts of the international community and affecting us all directly."
In his early morning interview with the Guardian, he was even more definitive: "We know it is ISIL's intention to launch attacks on the West when it is able."
Hammond also noted "all the hallmarks point to [the video] being genuine." They are now working to identify the executioner and bring him to justice if they "have any opportunity to do so."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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