Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Daily developments: the execution of James Foley

U.S. airstrikes pound ISIS

Less than an hour after President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command announced that U.S. warplanes had conducted 14 airstrikes on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria targets in the hours after the video was released. The strikes all took place near the Mosul Dam, Central Command said in a news release. Two U.S. officials said additional American troops — probably less than 300 — could be headed to Iraq to provide extra security around Baghdad, where the U.S. Embassy is located. That would bring the total number of American forces in Iraq to more than 1,000, although officials said no final decision had been made.

Is ISIS executioner British?

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a family vacation and returned to London to chair emergency meetings on Iraq and Syria on Wednesday, amid indications that a British citizen killed Foley. In the video, his masked executioner speaks in English with what sounds like a British accent.

The western world reacts

Foley's execution drew international condemnation, and western nations responded with stepped-up efforts to counter the threat posed by ISIS. Germany announced it would supply the Kurds with weapons to fight the insurgents. Italy's defense minister said the country hopes to contribute machine guns, ammunition and antitank rockets. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the killing showed the true face of this "caliphate of barbarism."

Rubio criticizes Obama

At least one Republican lawmaker seized on the beheading as evidence that Obama had not done enough to confront the Sunni militants and to acknowledge them as a direct threat to Americans: "I remain deeply concerned that despite the preponderance of evidence that proves ISIL is a fundamentally evil and dangerous terrorist threat to the United States, President Obama continues to appear unwilling to do what is necessary to confront ISIL and communicate clearly to the American people about the threat ISIL poses to our country and to our way of life," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement after the video's release.

Condemnation from the UN

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon issued a statement condemning ISIS and saying "the perpetrators of this and other such horrific crimes must be brought to justice." The New York Daily News and the New York Post were more blunt. Both used the same banner headline on their front pages: "Savages."

Journalists lost in Syria

Syria is the most dangerous country for journalists; at least 69 others have been killed covering the civil war there, including some who died over the border. More than 80 have been kidnapped. Eight, including James Foley, were murdered in 2012 through 2014. The Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that about 20 journalists are missing in Syria, many held by ISIS.

Times wires

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