Obama: US won't stop confronting Islamic State extremists despite journalist's killing

James Foley
Published: .
Updated: .

President Barack Obama says the United States will continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite the brutal murder of journalist James Foley.

Obama says the entire world is "appalled" by Foley's killing. The president says he spoke Wednesday with Foley's family and offered condolences.

Foley was abducted in 2012 and held for nearly two years. The Islamic militants posted a video showing his murder on Tuesday and said they killed him because the U.S. had launched airstrikes in northern Iraq.

The president also says the Islamic State abducts women and children, and tortures, rapes, enslaves and kills people. He said the Islamic State targets Christians and other minorities and aims to commit genocide.

Obama spoke Wednesday from Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where he's vacationing with his family, a day after the militants released a video showing the American journalist being beheaded.

Foley's parents, meantime, say their son died a hero for revealing the stories of oppressed people in war-torn lands.

Diane and John Foley addressed the media outside their Rochester, New Hampshire, home on Wednesday. It was an appearance where wrenching grief over their son's death mingled with shaking laughter over his life.

Diane Foley says her son was courageous to the end and called his death "just evil." John Foley says the family is holding up but that it feels like a bad dream.

The president's comments came after a U.S. Official said American fighter jets and drones conducted nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday, even as Islamic State militants threatened to kill a second American captive in retribution for any continued strikes. The militants released a video Tuesday showing U.S. journalist James Foley being beheaded.

The official says the airstrikes were in the area of the Mosul Dam and were aimed at helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces create a buffer zone at the key facility. The strikes have helped Iraqi and Kurdish troops reclaim the dam from the insurgents.

The militants threatened to kill a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, who is being held captive in case of airstrikes. The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing operations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)