(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Obama Administration on Friday said it considers ISIL's beheading of American journalist James Foley earlier this week to be a "terrorist attack" against the United States.
"When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack against our country," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters. "We have seen [ISIL] pose a threat to our interests in the region, to our personnel and facilities in the region, and clearly, the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront." The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant issued a warning to the U.S. government in its video of Foley's murder, saying airstrikes against the group in Iraq must stop, or another American journalist - Steven Sotloff - will also be executed. It was also revealed this week that ISIL had demanded USD 132 million in ransom for Foley, according to his employer, Global Post. The Obama Administration, however, refused to pay the group, and instead attempted to save the journalist and other hostages in a botched rescue mission in Syria several weeks ago.
"I can assure you that we have done everything that we can possibly do to try to bring home our hostages, said Rhodes. "It's an incredibly difficult circumstance in a place like Syria - again, where you have such a violent conflict raging.
But we've used all of our military intelligence, diplomatic resources that we can bring to bear to try to pull a thread to find out where our hostages are, to try to rescue them when we saw an opportunity, to try to work with any country that might have any means of locating them." "Tragically, we weren't able to rescue Mr. Foley," he continued. "But we're going to keep trying for all of our hostages not just in Syria but around the world." Rhodes further stressed that the US does "not provide ransom or any funding for terrorist organizations. We feel very strongly that it is not the right policy for governments to support." He noted that the US only intends to do the opposite, and "cut off and choke off their sources of funding." As to whether ISIL poses a danger to the US mainland, Rhodes said the Obama Administration has "to take every threat that's made against the United States seriously, and we're going to deal with that through the strategy we have in the region to squeeze them." He added, "We're also dealing with it through Homeland Security, and the president is going to convene, at the head of state level, a UN Security Council meeting in September to deal with the issue of foreign fighters who are heading to Syria, because we're concerned about the ability of foreign fighters to come from Western countries and seek to come back."