Find Britain’s ‘Black Beatle’: Hunt for masked butcher identified as ‘John’ – a Londoner in gang of UK homegrown jihadis known as ‘The Beatles’
Manhunt: Face of the masked killer from IS video
- Jihadist was filmed murdering James Foley in horrific Islamic State video
- Security services are close to establishing man’s identity
- A former hostage said killer, with British accent, was Londoner called John
- Came as Foreign Secretary warned jihadis could return to kill in the UK
- Do you know the ‘Black Beatle’? Email sean.o’hare [at] mailonline.co.UK
The fanatic who beheaded an American journalist was last night named as one of a gang of British jihadis known as ‘The Beatles’.
As a massive manhunt was launched, a former hostage said he believed the masked Islamic State maniac was a Londoner he had known as ‘John’.
The security services are also close to establishing the identity of the killer who cut James Foley’s throat in a horrific propaganda video.
Said to be a senior Islamic State operative, he was trusted earlier this year to negotiate a hostage exchange.
As David Cameron broke off his holiday to deal with the crisis, further evidence emerged of the prominent role British jihadis are playing in Iraq.
Some celebrated and joked about Mr Foley’s murder, with one woman fighter volunteering to be the next to kill a UK or US captive.
Experts warned Britons are among the most vicious of the Islamic State’s fanatics and one may have been chosen to carry out the killing because of the global impact it would have. In other developments:
- The Foreign Secretary again warned British jihadis could return to kill here;
- Military chiefs warned of more killings and called for Government action;
- Barack Obama said ‘no just God would stand for what the Islamic State did’;
- Muslim leaders were accused of failing to sufficiently condemn the terror group;
- Mr Cameron admitted it was increasingly likely Mr Foley was killed by a Briton.
The security services are using advanced voice recognition techniques to try to identify the murderer seen in the five-minute IS video, which has been viewed by thousands of people online.
The Briton, who uses his left hand and wears Timberland boots, speaks with what appears to be an East London accent as he makes a series of threats to President Obama and the West.
Yesterday, a man who was held in the Syrian city of Raqqa claimed the fanatic is intelligent, educated and a follower of radical Islamic teachings.
He said international hostages called ‘John’ and his fellow Britons The Beatles because they were from the UK.
Anti-terror investigators are now seeking to establish that the voice in the video is that of the man brandishing the knife before Mr Foley, rather than a voiceover.
The Briton’s role as a negotiator and self-styled executioner shows the extent to which British Muslims have become embedded in IS. It will also raise questions as to whether enough is being done to stem the flow of UK fighters to Syria and Iraq.
The man identified as James Foley speaks, giving a message to his family and linking his imminent death to the US government’s bombing campaign of IS targets in Iraq
In the video, titled A Message to America, a man who appears to be James Foley is dressed in an orange jumpsuit, kneeling in desert-like terrain beside an armed man dressed in black
Obscene: A video uploaded on Tuesday showed the IS fighter – called ‘John’ – murdering Mr Foley with a knife
James Foley: Tributes were paid yesterday to the ‘courageous, fearless’ warzone journalist
Journalist James Foley talks in 2012 about his work in Syria
The Government puts the figure at around 500 while a further 250 are thought to have already returned to the UK where the police and security services are attempting to watch them.
Shiraz Maher, of King’s College London’s international centre for the study of radicalisation, told the BBC that British recruits were ‘among some of the most vicious and vociferous fighters who are out there’ and ‘that is unfortunately just a part of their radicalisation’.
Messages written on Twitter by British jihadis before the release of the video appeared to suggest some had prior knowledge of the killing.
Reyaad Khan, 20, a former college student from Cardiff who has been in Syria for several months, tweeted in advance a picture of Mr Foley’s severed head.
Nasser Muthana, 20, who travelled to Syria with Khan and his younger brother Aseel, 17, also revelled in the murder, mocking Americans for failing to protect their own.
Cut short: David Cameron returned from his holiday today to deal with the crisis
His father, retired electrical engineer Ahmed Muthana, 57, of Cardiff, spoke of his disgust at the killing, saying: ‘Any right-thinking human being would condemn this. It is brutal and like something from the Dark Ages.
‘The video should be taken down from the internet where it will drive other Muslims to think of this like some sort of game.’
Academics yesterday voiced major concerns over the continuing circulation of the slickly edited video.
They said the footage could help radicalise British Muslims and ‘motivate’ them to support the terrorists’ cause.
And they warned the video and the use of social media to spread news of the beheading had succeeded in promoting IS’s cause to a global audience.
Rafaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at defence think-tank RUSI, said: ‘When we watch these videos, we are horrified by these sorts of acts and wonder how anyone can look at this with anything other than sheer disgust. But actually it has a motivating effect for others.
‘Some will look at this video and see the heinous act and see that they are a really serious group carrying out acts which are having a huge impact and causing World superpowers to look at them and their cause.
‘It could motivate people because they see they are a strong group making a powerful statement.’
Mr Pantucci said IS was ‘very good at harnessing social media to get their message out there and attract more attention.
‘They have demonstrated their ability to manipulate social media to its maximum effect,’ he added.
‘Unfortunately the British participation in the conflicts now raging in both Syria and Iraq has been one of full participation, one that has seen them at the front lines, taking part in the conflict in every way.
‘So we have seen British fighters out there operating as suicide bombers, we have seen them operating as executioners.’
President Obama said the US would not back down: ‘Today, the entire World is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley.
‘No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day. ISIL speaks for no religion.
‘Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.’
‘Entire World was appalled’: Barack Obama said that ‘no just God’ would stand for Mr Foley’s murder
Obama says US will be relentless against Islamic State
‘One of the reasons why what is going on in Syria and Iraq is a direct threat to our own national security is the presence of a significant number of our nationals who may, at some stage, seek to come back to the UK with the skills the trade craft that they have learned working with these terrorist organisations and potentially posing a threat to our domestic security here in the UK.
‘If the Islamic State, so called, becomes established in an area of Syria and Iraq, it will undoubtedly use it as a base for launching attacks on the West, it will undoubtedly send its fighters out to attack western targets.
‘Equally, if it gets pushed back, some of these people will return to their countries of origin not just the UK. We will see these people going back and carrying on their fight in our own homelands.’
Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, told Channel 4 News the lack of border controls meant the Government’s estimates of jihadi numbers were too low.
‘I think it’s about 2,000 people,’ he added. ‘I said a couple of months ago about 1,500. I know there are people still going across. There are no effective controls by the UK Border Agency both on exit and return.
‘No one knows what is going on. There is a real threat to the UK. The Border Agency is not fit for purpose.’ Mr Mahmood said two jihadis had travelled to Syria from his own constituency last year but returned and were detained by the authorities.
Among those who appeared to have been inspired by the appalling murder committed by IS was London-born recruit Khadijah Dare, who vowed to become the first woman to kill a UK or US prisoner.
Miss Dare, from Lewisham, was recently pictured with her toddler son holding an AK47 in northern Syria and is married to a Swedish Islamist fighter called Abu Bakr.
Do you know the ‘Black Beatle’? Email sean.o’hare [at] mailonline.co.UK
JIHADIS FLOOD TWITTER WITH THEIR VILE JOKES
By Larisa Brown
As details of the horrific beheading swept across the internet, members of the Islamic State posted a flood of sickening messages on Twitter.
If they were not laughing, they were telling of their own desires to commit atrocities of the same barbaric nature.
Taunts: Khadijah Dare with her Swedish husband, IS fighter Abu Bakr
A British jihadist, Nasser Muthana, writing under the name Abul Muthanna, tweeted: ‘So America wants to protect Yazidis from genocide but can’t even protect their own citizens from getting decapitated.’
A British woman in Syria, using the alias al-Britaniyya, wrote: ‘So the US want to bombard us with airstrikes in Iraq and not give a damn who’s killed but want to cry when a dusty journalist is killed.
‘By Allah we won’t forget our Muslim brothers and sisters who were killed by United states… the blood of a Muslim is not cheap.’
British jihadist Reyaad Khan, from Cardiff, writing under the name Abu Dujana, said: ‘A message from #IS to Obama. Withdraw or chaos will “be-heading” your way.’
A Canadian jihadist, using the name Abu Turaab al-Kanadi, said: ‘Can’t wait for the day #IS beheads the first American soldier #SoccerAnyone?’
Following the circulation of the murder footage, he added: ‘I guess it’s time to play soccer boys :)’ – a sick reference to the beheading of Mr Foley.
This was followed by: ‘Seeing these so called “Muslims” send condolences to James Foley’s family is disgusting. No dignity whatsoever…’
Abu Farris, another IS fighter, wrote: ‘The message the state sent to Obama is simple; don’t get involved in our war and we really are not joking. We’re ready like never before..’
Abu Muhammad wrote: ‘Obama statement in short: no negotiation,’ followed by ‘Ha, Obama just wrote the death sentence of the second guy.’
Extremists in the UK also exhibited a shocking lack of humanity.
Anjem Choudary wrote: ‘The presence of US forces in Muslim countries is a cause of instability there & a cause of insecurity back in the US. Hands off Muslim land!’
SPECIAL FORCES VOICE EXPERTS IN HUNT FOR ‘LONDON’ KILLER
By David Williams, Chief Reporter
Special Forces experts are using voice-recognition techniques to hunt down the British killer of James Foley.
The specialists are urgently trying to identify the man – who speaks with what appears to be a London accent – who beheaded Mr Foley in yesterday’s shocking video.
In the video, the masked killer gives a statement directly to the camera blaming President Barack Obama for the death of the American, who is seen dressed in a Guantanamo-style orange jumpsuit as he kneels in the sand. The man then carries out the beheading, before warning that another American hostage could be next.
Investigators are studying the video to try to establish whether the voice of the Briton delivering the IS statement is definitely that of the man shown in black who carries out the murder.
Security officials said the words may have been edited on to the video and that the man in black said nothing that was heard. Specialists believe the killer may already be on their radar after more than two years of investigations into Britons travelling to Syria and now Iraq.
The voice and tell-tale speech patterns of terror suspects and radicalised Britons – recorded and monitored in Britain and overseas – are stored and held by investigators at the Government’s Communication Centre in Cheltenham.
One clue to the killer’s identity is that he appears to be left-handed, holding the knife in that hand and wearing his rifle on his left shoulder. It is believed the murder took place in Syria where Mr Foley has been held since 2012. The photograph is being studied for possible clues as to the location.
Four French journalists and two Spaniards held for months and freed in April will also be asked if they recognise the voice. One was kept for some of his captivity in the same base as Mr Foley.
Source; Daily Mail UK