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Help murder hunt: British Muslims BRITAIN TRACKS ‘POSH TALK’...‘JOHN-PAUL-RINGO’ IN ‘JIHAD COOL’

WASHINGTON, Aug 21, (Agencies): American warplanes have bombed Islamist militants in northern Iraq near the Mosul dam, the US military’s Central Command said on Thursday, in the latest air attack on the extremists. “US military forces continued to attack ISIL (Islamic State) terrorists in support of Iraqi Security Force operations, using fighter and attack aircraft to conduct six airstrikes in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam,” it said in a statement. The air raids were carried out over the last 24 hours, a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. The air attacks come after President Barack Obama called for decisive international action against the “cancer” of jihadist extremism in Iraq and Syria.

The latest strikes destroyed or damaged three Humvee armored vehicles, another vehicle, and “multiple” homemade bomb “emplacements,” Central Command said. The US military has conducted 90 air strikes in Iraq since August 8, including the latest bombing raids. Of those 90 operations, 57 have been in support of Iraqi government forces near the Mosul dam, it said. Obama approved the air raids amid rising alarm over the threat posed by the Islamist militants who have seized territory to the north and west of Baghdad.

The air raids coincided with global outrage over the gruesome execution of American reporter James Foley by the Islamic State jihadists, which was revealed in a video Tuesday. US officials acknowledged that American special forces had tried this summer to rescue Foley and other US hostages but the bid failed. Obama on Wednesday said the Islamist extremists had to be defeated. “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless... From governments and peoples across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so it does not spread.” American fighter jets and drones continued to pound Islamic State militants in Iraq on Wednesday, and military planners weighed the possibility of sending a small number of additional US troops to Baghdad, US officials said, even as the insurgents threatened to kill a second American captive in retribution for any continued attacks.

The airstrikes came in the hours after militants released a gruesome video Tuesday showing US journalist James Foley being beheaded and underscored President Barack Obama’s vow Wednesday afternoon likely British. Linguists say his accent suggests he is from the London area. The Guardian newspaper quoted an unnamed former captive who was held in Raqqa, Syria, as saying he appeared to be one of several British militants — nicknamed “The Beatles” by hostages — charged with guarding Islamic State prisoners. John O’Regan, a linguist at London’s Institute of Education, said Thursday that analysts would likely make a voice print of the speaker and compare it to recordings of known suspects.

He said the militant spoke with a “multicultural London English” accent but with more formal standard English pro-nunciation, suggesting that his words denouncing American actions in the Middle East had been carefully scripted. “The person is taking great care to do ‘posh talk,’ as it were,” O’Regan said. “They’re very mindful of their p’s and q’s.” He said that even though the speech differs from the man’s normal speaking voice, “there are enough features in the accent” to provide strong clues to his identity. But he said piecing together the puzzle would need other information as well. “There is no such thing as a voice print fingerprint,” he said.

Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London, said investigators would use basic detective techniques to narrow down the field of suspects before voice recognition or other sophisticated technology came into play. He said most Western militants in Syria have Facebook or Twitter accounts, on which they post pictures of themselves and give away other clues to their origins, such as a favorite soccer team. “Just because they are Islamic extremists and behead people doesn’t meant they don’t talk about football clubs,” he said. He said online photos could be analyzed to determine height, weight, eye color and other information. He said that even though the militants, most in their teens and 20s, know they should be careful, they are so ingrained in online culture that “they let their guard down.” The killing of an American reporter is galvanizing international anger at Islamic State extremists and fueling fears about the flow of foreign fighters joining their ranks. But governments from the Mideast to Europe and even Washington appear uncertain about how to stop them.

The international police agency Interpol said Thursday it wants a globally coordinated push to stem the tide of international fighters joining the Islamic State group that has swallowed up territory across Iraq and Syria. Up to now, actions against them have been decided largely at a national level. The US sent in forces and airstrikes. Some European countries are sending weapons to those opposing IS fighters.

Some Mideast countries are tightening their borders. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al- Moussawi expressed hope that the international attention could produce a consensus on what to do next. “The world must unite to eradicate this organization and those alike. It is supported by countries, organizations and individuals and it cannot be eliminated unless we fight this extremism in all possible ways,” he said.

Backers One thorny question is how to cut off funding for the Islamic State fighters. Some accuse Qatar of being among their financial backers, which the government denies. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned Foley’s killing, saying it was “a heinous crime that goes against all Islamic and humanitarian principles, as well as international laws and conventions.” Interpol didn’t give any specific recommendations but is particularly concerned that a man who appears in a video of journalist James Foley’s death may be British. “(This highlights) the need for a multilateral response against the terror threat posed by radicalized transnational fighters travelling to conflict zones,” said Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble.

More than a thousand radicals from Europe have joined militant fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Interpol has long warned of the threat such fighters pose. European governments worry those radicals could stage attacks when they get home and have introduced new anti-terrorism measures to try to catch them or stop them from leaving in the first place. French President Francois Hollande urged other countries to wake up to the threat of the group. “It’s not simply a terrorist group like those, alas, we have already known — dispersed, scattered, with several chiefs. This is a terrorist enterprise that has decided to enslave, annihilate, destroy,” he said Thursday. France, which has seen an unusually large number of its citizens travel to fight with the Islamic State group, was the first European country to send arms to Iraq and has pushed its European counterparts to do more. Within Europe, any concerted action in Iraq is complicated by uncomfortable memories of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. “I don’t expect the Europeans to put boots on the ground, but more needs to be done,” said Amanda Paul, a policy analyst at Brussels-based think-tank European Policy Center. “The EU should have a more coordinated approach on who’s doing what,” Paul said. “They can’t just rely on the United States. (President Barack) Obama is already thinly spread and Americans are tired of war.” There were no immediate signs of a shift in British policy in the wake of Foley’s slaying. Britain has already said its mission in Iraq has moved beyond the humanitarian phase and includes Royal Air Force reconnaissance patrols. Britain has also said it is willing to arm Kurdish troops fighting the Sunni insurgents.

Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the “brutal and barbaric” killing of Foley but said Britain would not take any “knee-jerk” action. “I have been very clear that this country is not going to get involved in another Iraq war. We are not putting combat troops, combat boots on the ground,” he said. Germany announced it is sending arms to Kurds fighting the extremists and said Foley’s death played a role in the decision, which it had been considering for weeks. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin the video of Foley “shows the barbaric and completely merciless murder of a human being.”

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