Cairo, Aug 21 IANS | 2 months ago

As condemnation of the beheading of American scribe James Foley by the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist organisation continued to pour in, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Thursday warned that the terror outfit operating in Syria and Iraq is one of the biggest threats to journalists.


In a statement, the CPJ stressed that the members of the IS who murdered freelance US journalist Foley "use violence and intimidation to silence all independent reporting in the areas they control", Efe news agency reported.

The organisation expressed concern over the fate of journalists abducted by the jihadi organisation, including seven Syrians captured in the second half of 2013 in different areas of northern Syria.

The US announced Wednesday night that it had undertaken a failed mission earlier this summer to liberate US hostages captured by the IS, after US authorities confirmed the authenticity of the video that showed the IS beheading Foley, who was abducted in 2012.

The CPJ and Reporters Without Borders have issued warnings that Syria has become the most dangerous country for journalists.

The IS has said the fate of another kidnapped US journalist, Steven Sotloff, depends on the steps US President Barack Obama takes regarding the region, where US aircraft last week bombarded the extremists' positions in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Arab League Thursday condemned the killing of Foley, MENA news agency reported.

"The League condemns this tragic crime that runs counter to the noble Islamic teachings," Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed ben Helli, told reporters.

Unesco Director General Irina Bokova too Thursday condemned the incident, calling it a "heinous killing".

"I condemn the murder of James Foley in the strongest possible terms," said Bokova.

The Islamic State militant group had posted a video that showed Foley's beheading.

"There are few words to describe this heinous killing, turned into a cruel and gruesome spectacle through a video recording that has been widely circulated to intimidate media, governments and citizens everywhere and to inflict terrible pain on Foley's family, friends and colleagues," said Bokova.

The 40-year-old Foley had spent considerable time covering conflicts in the Middle East. He vanished Nov 22, 2012 while reporting on fighting in the city of Aleppo.

Bokova said journalists like Foley have kept "the world informed about the conflict in Syria and the terrible price being paid by the Syrian people and their country".

She hopes other captive journalists are freed unharmed.

"Several other journalists are still being held captive in Syria, including Steven Sotloff who was being held with Foley, and whose life has been threatened. I call on all concerned to release all reporters unharmed," she said.

US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Wednesday too condemned the horrific incident.

Obama said that the beheading of Foley has left the world appalled.

Ina separate development, the IS Thursday released a video showing dozens of members of the Yazidi minority religious community converting to Islam.

The 10-minute recording describes the Yazidis, who belong to Iraq's Kurdish minority, as "true infidels" who practise "rare rituals" to worship the "cursed Satan", Efe reported.

"Now you are unfaithful, we will teach you the Shahada (Islamic profession of faith) and you are going to turn into Muslims," the Yazidis were told on the video.

After reciting the "Shahada", the captives performed Islamic prayers as they chanted "Islam is the true religion and justice".

(Posted on 21-08-2014)

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