The jihadist who beheaded American journalist James Foley in a sensational footage released on Wednesday, has been identified as a Londoner who liked to call himself 'John'.
The information, first revealed by British daily, Telegraph, comes as the intelligence agents in the UK and United States are intensifying efforts to quickly identify the jihadist who appeared to speak in a strong southern English accent in the gruesome video, which was intended to send across a strong response against the US airstrikes targeting growing IS strongholds in Iraq.
Hours after the release of the video, intelligence agents were looking into reports that the IS fighter whose action in the gory video shocked the world, is the ringleader of group of British jihadists who have specialised in hostage taking.
Based in the city of Raqqa in Syria, which is an IS stronghold, John – identified, for now only with one name – has been described by the British newspaper as a well-educated, intelligent person but also one of the most fanatic member of the extremist terror group, which has launched a deadly campaign over the last few months overrunning major swathe of the Iraq and Syria's northern area.
The group, in which John operated, apparently has two other British born militants, whom the fellow jihadists called 'The Beatles' because of their nationality. (The Beatles is a name of a famous English musical band).
The beheading of the 40-year-old journalist – the act which would usually be carried by senior members of the organization – also suggested that militants from the UK were no longer merely foot soldiers within the jihadist group, but have managed to work their way up to senior positions within the dreaded organization.
The jihadist militants released the horrific footage of a masked militant apparently beheading the American photojournalist, with many newspapers nothing that the event could raise fears about the role of Islamic extremists from the United Kingdom in Islamic State.
The video, which was titled 'A Message to America', was posted on YouTube as a retaliation of targeted US airstrikes in Iraq. The video showed the freelance journalist – kidnapped in northwest Syria during Thanksgiving 2012 and considered missing until now– kneeling in the desert in an orange jumpsuit as a masked man in black stands beside him.