WASHINGTON - A graphic video released by extremist Islamic State group ISIL on Tuesday purports to show American journalist James Foley being beheaded.
Intelligence sources say they have no reason to believe the video is not authentic.
National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden released the a statement Tuesday, "We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available."
Foley, a freelance journalist, disappeared in northwest Syria on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 2012, and his family has since made multiple appeals for his safe return. On their website, they describe him as, "The oldest of five children. He has reported independently and objectively from the Middle East for the past five years."
The family has not made a statement or confirmed reports of his death. Minutes after the video was posted, it was blocked by several sites.
U.S. authorities have not commented.
ISIL warned in a letter that surfaced on Twitter Monday that the "dog of the Romans has thrust his Air Force into a new dilemma," -- alluding to the long U.S. engagement in Iraq.
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