More Westerners are hostages of Isis and in grave danger

Young Westerners fighting jihad are in contest to commit most barbaric acts

Isis militants may be holding other Western hostages whose lives are now in grave danger following the murder of the American journalist James Foley, it emerged last night.

Reports from America suggested that at least three other US hostages were being held alongside Mr Foley in the months leading up to his death and threats have been made against their lives.

The militants had demanded a ransom of $132.5m (£80m) for Mr Foley’s releaseh, his employer said last night. It went unpaid in line with US policy, which prohibits negotiations with terrorists.

The journalist’s murder and the threat to Western lives has so far not had any effect on US air strikes on Isis positions in Iraq. Since the video of his beheading was released on Tuesday, US aircraft have launched 14 strikes including several yesterday. US Navy fighters and drones also provided air cover for Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting Isis near the city of Mosul.

In the UK, police and intelligence agencies mounted an intensive operation to identify the masked man who spoke with a British accent on the video before executing Mr Foley. They are understood to be using voice recognition software to trawl police records and extremist material on the internet for a match. A public appeal has also been launched.

Richard Barrett, a former British security official and co-ordinator of the United Nations al-Qa’ida Taliban Monitoring Team, said he expected the man to be identified fairly quickly but that bringing him to justice may prove more difficult. “The most important thing is to demonstrate that you cannot do these things even in the middle of the desert, just because you are in something called Islamic State [as Isis now calls itself] or the caliphate,” he said.

David Cameron has now resumed his holiday in Cornwall. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said he remained “in close contact with his team”.

Dozens of journalists and aid workers are thought to have been taken hostage in Iraq and Syria, but few have been named. One is Steven Sotloff, a 31-year-old American journalist, who was captured near Aleppo in northern Syria in August last year. He is being held by the same group responsible for the death of Mr Foley, who have also threatened to murder him.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, an adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain, said Mr Foley’s murder showed that the UK must act urgently to stop other young Muslims being seduced by a “sub-culture of this ‘jihadi-cool’.” He added: “This is a problem that affects all of us”. He added that Britain’s Muslim community was pushing the message that acts like this are “totally alien to Islam” and that families were informing authorities when they discovered that their sons had headed to the Middle East to fight.

Haras Rafiq, head of outreach at the counter-extremism group Quilliam, said he was “not surprised” that Mr Foley’s killer had a British accent. “We’ve had decades of Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood indoctrinating our youngsters that they have to struggle for this utopian Islamic caliphate.

Isis fighters from Western countries were also more likely to compete against each other by committing horrific acts, he added. “There is this massive competition among the Western foreigners who are going out there to be the most barbaric. The Europeans and especially the Britons have taken to it a lot more than some of the Arabs have.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Voices
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
people... and stop them from attacking people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?