Tags: isis | beheadings | American | Egyptians | Christians | video | Syria

ISIS Leader in Mass Beheadings of Christians May Be American

By    |   Thursday, 19 February 2015 07:48 AM EST

U.S. intelligence officials are analyzing whether the masked Islamic State militant who appears in the video of the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians could be an American recruit, ABC News reported.

A senior U.S. official said experts are looking at facial features and speech patterns of the masked man who spoke in the video, and an expert in linguistics said he believes the man was educated in the United States, Fox News reported.

"He clearly spent a significant amount of his childhood in the United States," Professor Erik Thomas, a linguistics expert at North Carolina State University, told Gretchen Carlson on "The Real Story" Wednesday afternoon, according to Fox News.

"Whether it was all of his childhood or not, I couldn't say that. I would say probably from the time he began his schooling, he was in the United States, but he was properly exposed to Arabic all along."

Special: Find Out Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of ISIS — Click Here

Thomas also told ABC News that the speaker "sounds like an American."

Another linguistics expert from another American university told ABC News that the masked man may be a native Arabic speaker but learned American English probably by spending a "significant amount of time" in the U.S.

U.S. officials are conducting a detailed analysis of the video as they hunt for the fighter, much as was done in the hunt for the British executioner, dubbed "Jihadi John." The latest videos are believed to have been shot in Syria.

"They are analyzing the video now, using facial recognition and they continue to analyze his speech patterns," an official told the New York Post.

According to the Post, there are currently 3,000 Westerners fighting in Syria and Iraq, and roughly 150 of these converts are Americans.

"They would love nothing more than to have one of these American converts fly back to the United States with an American passport to create terror and make you lose sleep at night," an official told the Post.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Alhakim, told world leaders that the Islamic State was harvesting the organs of its victims and selling them to raise funds for its operations.

"We have bodies," Alhakim said, according to Fox News. "Come and examine them. It is clear they are missing certain parts."

He also said that a dozen doctors have been executed in Mosul for refusing to participate in the harvesting of organs.

The news comes as the White House launched a three-day conference on countering violent extremism. Community leaders gathered to discuss, among other things, measures that would stem the tide of recruitment to the Islamic State. 

The Obama administration has also launched an effort to counter the propaganda campaign of the Islamic State. The State Department is expanding a small branch agency called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which will pull together the counter-messaging efforts of other government departments, including the Pentagon, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies.

Earlier this week, State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf came under fire for saying on MSNBC that the war against the Islamic State will be won by providing jobs, not through military might. 

"We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war," she said. "We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's a lack of opportunity for jobs ..."

A CNN/ORC poll this week found that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling the threat posed by the Islamic State, and 78 percent support  authorizing the use of military force against the militant group. 

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

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U.S. intelligence officials are analyzing whether the masked Islamic State militant who appears in the video of the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians could be an American recruit, ABC News reported.
isis, beheadings, American, Egyptians, Christians, video, Syria
Thursday, 19 February 2015 07:48 AM
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