Former ISIS Hostage Identifies British Militant Who Beheaded James Foley

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 22, 2014 8:48 AM EST

Former ISIS hostage Didier François claimed to have identified the Islamic State militant who had beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley. The militant is British and is called as "John," according to the claims of the French journalist.

REUTERS/Tommy Giglio/Northwest
U.S. journalist James Foley speaks at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in Evanston, Illinois, after being released from imprisonment in Libya, in this 2011 handout photo provided by Northwestern University.

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The FBI has started the manhunt for the alleged "John" who is reportedly from London. Additionally, international investigating authorities are analysing the released execution footage for further suggestions to have more details of the killer. François, who was earlier released in April, spoke to Europe 1 Radio to inform that he might have some idea about who the masked person beside Foley in the video could be.

The 53-year-old journalist, on the other hand, did not commit much in his claim to have "identified" the executioner. "Recognised is a very big word. I see roughly who it is," he said. François said that he had also been detained along with Foley. François also claimed to know U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff whom the executioner threatened to kill next in the beheading video.

François described Foley as an "extraordinary" person who had a "strong character." At the same time, he said that Foley happened to be a "pleasant companion in detention" because of his "solid and collective" nature. "He never gave in to the pressure and violence of the kidnappers," the Frenchman said. François was apparently warned against talking about Foley and Sotloff in public as he was told during his release in April that those two American journalists would face punitive measures. "Their exact words were: 'They'll be punished'," François said.

François also spoke to Reuters regarding Foley. He said that he believed that the British militant who eventually killed Foley was the one who took control of the American photo-journalist since the beginning. According to the French journalist, the Islamic State militants zeroed in on Foley after it had been discovered that his brother worked for the U.S. Air Force.

In the meantime, The Guardian reported that the British militant who had allegedly killed Foley was the leader of a British jihadist group which held foreign hostages in Syria. He was apparently the one who had acted as the chief rebel negotiator to release 11 Islamic State hostages earlier in 2014.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Tommy Giglio/Northwest / )
U.S. journalist James Foley speaks at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in Evanston, Illinois, after being released from imprisonment in Libya, in this 2011 handout photo provided by Northwestern University.
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