Washington, DC, United States (4E) – U.S. warplanes bombed armed vehicles and positions of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in northern Iraq on Thursday despite threats by the group to execute another American hostage if the airstrikes don’t stop.
The FBI and British intelligence agency MI5 also started a manhunt for the unidentified man who beheaded American journalist James Foley on Wednesday and threatened to behead Steven Sotloff next if President Barack Obama fails to heed ISIS’ demand as shown on a video ISIS posted on the Internet. The manhunt is focused in the U.K. as Foley’s executioner spoke on the video with an English accent indicating he is from London or England’s East End.
Fourteen U.S. airstrikes were conducted near Mosul to provide air cover to Iraqi and Kurdish forces trying to retake the city from Islamic extremists, the U.S. Central Command said Thursday. On Monday, Iraqi and Kurdish troops retook the Mosul dam with the help of U.S. airstrikes on ISIS positions and armed vehicles.
Meanwhile, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed Wednesday that its Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) was investigating the beheading video. Clues on the identity of the executioner also are being gathered from the MI5 databases, records of CTC and digital forums and social media postings on the internet.
BBC world affairs correspondent Rob Watson said sources had confirmed IS had been using three British jihadists to guard foreign prisoners. The guards are dubbed John, Paul and Ringo, the names of the Beatles members.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder said Thursday the Justice Department will bring Foley’s killer to justice.
“We will not forget what happened and people will be held accountable, one way or the other,” Holder said.