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IS-Linked Suspects Identified in James Foley Beheading

British authorities draw up 'short list' of three suspects, say Foley's killer handles ransom negotiations in Syria.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 8/24/2014, 8:08 AM

James Foley appears in video soon before his execution
James Foley appears in video soon before his execution
Screenshot

British authorities have closed in on a number of suspects in the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley, British news outlets reported Friday, after linguistics experts determined that his executioner was a London immigrant to Syria. 

Three suspects have been identified in the Foley murder thus far, the Telegraph reported Friday - as the Special Air Service (SAS) waits on standby for the terrorist's capture. 

Top of the list is former National Health Services (NHS) doctor, Shajul Islam. Islam was arrested and charged with kidnapping British journalist John Cantlie in 2012, but was released after Cantlie was unable to give testimony. His medical license has since been suspended; family say they are unsure of his whereabouts, as well as those of his brother - 21 year-old Razul, who has been confirmed to have joined IS in Syria. 

Media reports have also named Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, a former rapper from Maida Vale, west London, as Foley's killer. Bary joined IS in Syria last year and later tweeted a photo of himself holding a severed head.

Linguists say Bary has a similar accent to the killer in the Foley video, which a Guardian expose revealed is a London accent masking a foreign first language; he has a similar build and skin tone, as well. 

A third suspect is Aine Davis, 30, from Hammersmith, west London. Davis converted to Islam and joined jihadists in Syria last year, after reforming from life as a drug dealer and gang member; his family refused to comment.

Foley was brutally decapitated by an Islamic State (IS; formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS) terrorist only identified as "John." "John" was later determined to be the ringleader of a particularly brutal ring of British terrorists in IS known as the "Beatles." 

Experts also believe that "John" is the head negotiator in ransom talks for foreign captives in IS's territory in Raqqa, according to a Guardian report. Foley's parents admitted Wednesday that they had been raising Foley's ransom money when he was brutally murdered.