LONDON - A one-time London rapper known as "Jihadi John", who is believed to be the jihadist shown in an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) video beheading US journalist James Foley somewhere in Syria, is the son of an alleged Al-Qaeda lieutenant and an accused terrorist bomber.
London's Daily Mail said his father, Adel Abdel Bary, 54, used to be one of Osama bin Laden's top Al-Qaeda lieutenants. He is now in New York awaiting trial for the alleged bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, after being extradited from Britain.
Bary was allowed entry into Britain when he was granted political asylum from his native Egypt, where he was accused twice of terrorist crimes. British intelligence estimates that about 500 Britons have joined ISIS. The search for suspects with the London accent of the video executioner was narrowed to half a dozen of them.
London's Daily Telegraph said they include Dr Shajul Islam, 28, a doctor suspended after being accused of abducting foreign nationals in 2012. He claims he has been in Syria only to give medical care to war victims. His brother Razul, 21, is allegedly fighting for ISIS.
But the suspect of most interest remains Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, who went to Syria last year and tweeted a picture of himself holding up a severed head, said the Telegraph.
Spy agencies have been able to compare his voice recorded during interviews in Britain with the voice of the hooded man seen threatening Mr Foley and apparently beheading him.
The Daily Mail said videos on YouTube show the younger Bary, who went by the name Lyricist Jinn or L Jinny, praising his father in rap. His lyrics went: "Give me the pride and the honour like my father, I swear the day they came and took my dad, I could have killed a cop or two."
The search for clues on the beheading has been widened to determining where it was shot. Mr Eliot Higgins, a British video and photo analyst who specialises on Syria, has concluded that Mr Foley was most likely killed in the hills south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, said the Telegraph. The hilly, featureless terrain has, in the distance, a green plain, which Mr Higgins believes matches no other location under ISIS control, the Telegraph said.
But a London Times report suggests the video may have been carefully edited and staged, with the actual killing taking place off camera later. It said analysis by video production experts showed no blood on Mr Foley's neck despite the knife being drawn across it at least six times. The shot after that is of the decapitated body.
The report raises the possibility that the masked man armed with the knife did not necessarily carry out the subsequent killing.