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US brands killing of James Foley a 'terrorist attack'; Shi'ite militants kill 70 at Iraq mosque

Published on Aug 23, 2014 11:17 AM
A masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaks next to man purported to be US journalist James Foley at an unknown location in this still image from an undated video posted on a social media website. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) - Washington has declared the beheading of an American journalist a "terrorist attack", upping the stakes in its confrontation with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group, as Shi'ite militiamen gunned down 70 people at an Iraqi Sunni mosque.

The apparent revenge attack at the mosque in Diyala province on Friday will increase already significant anger among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority with the Shi'ite-led government, undermining an anti-militant drive that requires Sunni cooperation to succeed.

It came as the United States, which is carrying out airstrikes against ISIS, ramped up its rhetoric over the grisly killing of journalist James Foley, which was carried out by the jihadist group and shown in a video posted online.

In Washington, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the beheading of Mr Foley "represents a terrorist attack against our country". Mr Rhodes also said that paying ransoms to free hostages is "not the right policy", confirming Washington's long-standing position amid claims from ISIS that other countries had paid to have their nationals freed.

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