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James Foley

James Foley Killing Was a Terrorist Attack, White House Says

3:00

The White House said Friday that the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS militants constituted a terrorist attack against the United States.

“When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack — that represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser.

Rhodes also told reporters that ISIS, which controls huge swaths of Iraq and Syria, poses a greater threat today that it did six months ago, in part because of ransoms it has obtained through other kidnappings.

ISIS at one time demanded $132 million for Foley’s release. The United States does not pay ransom to what it deems terrorist organizations.

He said that the White House is “taking it very seriously,” including airstrikes against ISIS, support for Iraqi and Kurdish forces and support for the Syrian opposition.

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— Erin McClam