British ISIS Militants Nicknamed 'The Beatles' Held Foley and other Journalists

U.S. launches more airstrikes against ISIS in Northern Iraq despite death threat to 2nd American journalist held captive.
14:28 | 08/21/14

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Transcript for British ISIS Militants Nicknamed 'The Beatles' Held Foley and other Journalists
Through them. Every time we had to sit back he was -- -- contrary inmate it to eight years you are correct there. And through a -- can say anything that the -- -- abuse while the tremendous amount correct. A man once held hostage which Jane Foley in Syria describing the American journalists courage and conviction. Before he was brutally beheaded in a video released by the extremist group I says. Right now the international hot -- Iraq and Syria. -- I'm Mary Bruce in Washington DC will have more from nickel and on the French journalist. Who was cell -- with James Foley before he was released in April later but first. We're learning today that the US has launched more airstrikes against crisis in Iraq near the strategic Mosul dam. This news is in line with president Obama's statement yesterday. Despite threats by -- -- that a second American captive Steve Stevens -- law. Also shown in that gruesome video would be killed if the airstrikes continue. We know also now that there was a US rescue mission earlier this summer. With several special forces members landing in Syria and engaging in a firefight with ice as militant. But the hostages weren't there. The White House says the mission was substantial and involved multiple intelligence organizations. And British officials now are trying to find out more about the man who killed James Foley it's believed that -- other guards are also British. And nicknamed The Beatles the BBC's Dominique cash Johnny has more on James police captors. James though they be -- in Syria by a masked killer and an international manhunt continues to discover -- -- density. Today it's emerged that the jihadist may be part of a group of three -- man nicknamed The Beatles John Paul and Ringo. Up MI five is played a key role in helping the American FBI investigation. The security services he's an -- tricks of his trade to identify the suspect to what chance to they have -- lending his name. Forensic experts will be scrutinizing the terrain in the -- video. They'll be tried to pick up clues from his to -- -- all eyes will be checked against -- -- in security databases. But the most important lead could come from his British voice. It's useful to us -- to put cheeks all -- that might lead to identifying the speaker and in the dvd. If you cannot use -- identification at that means. To identify it took to be an individual it's not like fingerprinting. Or DNA -- -- -- Hundreds of British men who forced in Syria are already back home and modify -- monitoring many of these men. So -- knows who the killer really years. The security sixers hope that the volatile -- words come from that technological tool -- that from inside Muslim communities. There working behind the scenes whose leaders who are increasingly worried about -- -- -- -- Many people are now involved in methods to deter -- young men from coming to Syria. He scenic contrasts the most in community for two reasons best they cannot national security to make sure that -- seasons don't -- -- join forces might not and second any. You know because they've hijacked off face times that don't represent Lafayette and -- as a result he moms -- on the country across the country on using. You know -- to keep the outbound message but all of socialist immediate. Syria as a war zone and that means there's no guarantee that Canada could be apprehended. Even if his side Penn State he's already known he may spend DA's -- justice. -- -- -- BBC news. James Foley had been captured in 2012 and first seven months. Let's help with French journalist -- a -- -- non and I was released in April and has not spoken about his experience until now because of concern for those still being held. But after James -- murder he's revealed what it was like to be held captive. By the group now known as the Islamic state hears -- non remembering James Foley. What were the conditions like you and James -- -- was -- -- And. In a very extreme situation together including four when a week Hoover handcuffed when two the other. -- -- I. I could see that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- When every time we had a setback he was -- us contrary made it to eight years you are correct there. And -- way I can say I think that. Attempts believe -- while tremendous amount correct. In seconds -- where you have captives. You did -- -- some kind. Survival and things. Meaning that friends parents you try to grab everything you can buy and and -- was the total opposite. And basically everything -- chair it would share if if if if who have called and went missing blankets he would. Chairs blankets. If we were stopping -- and -- food he was she would charity's mission did you cope with the conditions precedent publicity James. Being an Americana on one hand. And because if he kept us fund that he had. My brother serving -- the US -- false. Gut and unfortunately. Have become official treatment. And he was eight. It was kind of a scapegoat. So -- rude. You ever -- it would be a roundup. Keeps on pension is. It would get -- wasn't with us typically. Did hear you in the time you have no money to develop any sort of relationship we -- captains. Now. Very little. What would they say that could have whoever it is that that preventing us from everything that has to from syndrome. The told us that this war has preformed science diminish through one. The economy -- The information -- And busy kiwi doesn't create they told as a -- -- your opinion make us. And therefore responsible. Far as the bad image -- Muslims and Europe indicate what were you released. But he wasn't some countries many countries actually do negotiate. Where do -- negotiate I don't know. I don't of his money and I -- his prison a chance. And some countries like her -- -- the UK cannot negotiate. Everyone -- -- W -- horrified but won't be feeling when you saw that it is. I'm just horrified because that. Because is that thanks up and you can you could have been killed peoples who. Have friends and my -- -- How would you like to remember James finally. Terror trial -- and a friend who take two days. But there were trying to. To just remember if -- you very few continues to have. Two. Two left -- And for more now on crisis and James Foley were joined by ABC's Alex mark part in Northern Iraq from the city of -- field. Now Alex we're seeing more disturbing videos today of ice just forcibly converting -- -- how widespread is -- is his control in Iraq. Good afternoon Mary well since the the American airstrikes started we believe that ice is controls around 13 of Iraqi territory. I'm in northern Iraq and Kurdistan which is firmly under the control. Of the Kurds but just south of here is -- Iraq's second biggest city Mosul. -- -- in their control. Of iasis and they controlled territory south of Mosul to around forty miles from Baghdad. To the city of Fallujah and then in addition to that they control the western Anbar Province which while it's not terribly. Well populated. It is quite base of the believed to control around 13 of Iraq. Right now. Now what tell us about this rescue mission earlier this summer to try and bring back James -- What we don't know exactly when it took place and we don't know exactly where it took place the president has said that it took place earlier this summer -- pentagon officials have said. That it wasn't in the last few weeks we know that there were air and ground forces involved in that they went in. Thinking that they were going to find -- and perhaps others but that they words. Where -- they were believed to be held. There were some local reports. Of a joint operation between Americans and Jordanians but. Essentially that this operation. That happened earlier this summer the forces landed on the ground. We're looking for Foley didn't find him they did engage in a firefight with -- fighters we believe. NASA releases fighters were killed. But of course stuff fully -- -- -- and -- hostages were not there. Out fully was believed to be held in the northern Syrian city of rock which is essentially. The -- -- headquarters and that's where fully and other hostages we believe we're -- after their capture -- crisis. You mention the other hostages of course we know there is one other American journalists still in captivity what more do we know about -- -- Yes even -- -- was the other journalists who was shown in that that brutal video. In which should James Foley was beheaded. -- -- Y Mets all across the Middle East was. A well known friendly. Journalist who who has spent a lot of his time working for time magazine in Libya it also freelance for other publications. Including the Christian Science Monitor. I saw him on the border with Syria in in southern Turkey and and it's -- -- -- on hockey. And he went into. Into Syria. -- mom and she was taken last August and August 2013 is a -- summer which is just less than a year after. James Foley was taken. We'd been hearing reports in the journalist community that he was being held in rock out with Foley. Unlike Foley and another American in Austin Tyson we believe is being held by the regime. His family didn't want it to become public that he was being held so it was pretty well known among journalists then of course it it came to the forefront. When he appeared in nice this is video with with Foley the other day. Net James Foley wasn't he captured by -- forces so how didn't did -- get into the hands. A crisis. Well it's really one of the big questions now we don't know in the in that the period that followed -- capture. Global post which was his employer at the time. Hired a security firm they carried out an investigation all signs that they found. Pointed to the facts that he had been captured by regime forces and held by regime forces. So now there -- essentially two options either that intelligence was wrong. And -- was captured by by militants crisis militants from the get go. Or he was traded and and we know that there have been trades -- have taken place in the past between. But the regime and the rebel side of course that the militants have have captured a large number of regime soldiers so there are trades that have. I've taken place throughout this conflict but we simply don't know at this point. Now Americans and British citizens going to Syria to fight is now of course a big concern do we know just how many foreign fighters are with prices. -- what drives them to Syria. We don't know the exact numbers numbers for all of this you know it's fitted with the scale of the fighters -- into the numbers of the fighters are are really. -- certain it's estimated that at least 101000 probably more fighters are. Identify where prices are belong to -- crisis we -- -- at least several hundred probably more than a thousand. Foreign fighters have flocked to -- -- as well the vast majority of them are Europeans but they're also Australians. And American intelligence officials believe -- around seventy to a hundred Americans who are also fighting. -- crisis. That's the largest contingent of foreign fighters is believed to be British I'm so that -- and it could be anywhere between. -- 700 -- it's around 15100 foreign fighters. And of course that is the great fear now is that they're gonna go to Syria fight and -- -- rather I'd get trained. And then go back to their home countries and -- -- attacks. On the home front. -- a little bit more if you could about that symbolic nature of using a British man to execute Foley. Well -- do really -- look at different from two ways. First the distribution they wanted to make sure that this would get a lot of play in the media which of course it has because. Foley was an American in the aftermath of that crisis has been carrying out -- headings for years and hundreds of people have been have been beheaded by this group. But using -- operate it. Speaking fluent English guaranteed. That this was gonna get a lot of play. And then secondly it really drives home the point that we are just talking about that. This is not a rag -- group of Middle Eastern fighters this is. A group our cause if you will that has has drawn in its fighters from all over the world. So on the one hand they're saying it not only are we gonna kill. Fully and possibly other hostages. But remember we know there are a lot of us foreign fighters here in and we could go home eventually carry out attacks at home. ABC's Alex Mark Warner -- Iraq thank you for joining us that you. You can keep up with this story in real time by downloading ABC rules app and starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. You've been watching international hot spot I'm Mary -- in Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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