The United States stood firm Wednesday in its fight against Islamic State militants who beheaded a U.S. journalist in Iraq, pledging to continue attacking the group despite its threats to kill another American hostage. President Barack Obama denounced the group as a "cancer" threatening the entire region as the administration weighed sending even more American troops to Iraq.
"We will be vigilant and we will be relentless," Obama said as the U.S. military pressed ahead with more airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq.
The execution of journalist James Foley drew international condemnation, and western nations responded with stepped-up efforts to counter the threat posed by Islamic State. Germany announced it would supply the Kurds with weapons to fight the insurgent. Italy's defense minister said the country hopes to contribute machine guns, ammunition and anti-tank rockets. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the killing showed the true face of this "caliphate of barbarism."
In capitals across the Middle East, by contrast, the news of Foley's death was met with silence, even in Syria and Iraq — the two countries where the Islamic State is strongest. On social media, people in the region condemned Foley's killing, but stressed that the Islamic State has been committing atrocities against Iraqis and Syrians for years.
The slain journalist's parents, Diane and John Foley, spoke to reporters outside their home in Rochester, New Hampshire, in an appearance where wrenching grief over their son's death mingled with laughter over his life.
Diane Foley said her son was courageous to the end and called his death "just evil."
"We are just very proud of Jimmy and we are praying for the strength to love like he did and keep courageous and keep fighting for all the people he was fighting for," Diane Foley said Wednesday. "We pray for all the remaining Americans."
Obama's remarks affirmed that the U.S. would not scale back its military posture in Iraq in response to Foley's killing. And at the State Department, spokeswoman Marie Harf did not rule out military operations in Syria to bring those responsible to justice, saying the U.S. "reserves the right to hold people accountable when they harm Americans. What that looks like going forward, those conversations will be happening."
Read more at the Associated Press