The Obama administration says it is trying confirm the authenticity of a video that purports to show the killing of an American photojournalist by Islamic State militants.
The militant group Islamic State on Tuesday released a video it claims shows the beheading of James Wright Foley as a message to the United States to stop intervening in Iraq.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said "if genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and express our deepest condolences to his family and friends." Hayden said the U.S. intelligence community is working quickly to determine the video's authenticity.
Foley was covering the civil war in Syria when he went missing in November 2012.
The video on YouTube was entitled "A Message to #America (from the #IslamicState)." It identified a man on his knees as Foley and showed his beheading.
A post on the "Free James Foley" Facebook page addressed the reports on Tuesday, saying, "We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers. Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers."
Islamic State militants also claimed in the video to be holding another U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff and said his life depended on President Barack Obama's next move.
Sotloff went missing in northern Syria in July 2013.
U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff, a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee and chair of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press, released the following statement in the wake of the reported beheading of photojournalist James Wright Foley by ISIL:
"The apparent beheading of photojournalist James Wright Foley adds to the appalling parade of horrors perpetrated by ISIL. Seldom is the descriptor 'evil' applied with perfect accuracy as it is with this monstrous group that glories in death. They know no human decency - murdering journalists, beheading religious minorities refusing to convert, victimizing women and children, and starving entire communities.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of James Foley in this painful time. Journalists on the front lines are true heroes, and James' work like that of Daniel Pearl before him will inspire others to carry on in spite of the dangers."