Did a British rapper kill James Foley?

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Dubai: The search for the murderer of American journalist James Foley appears to be making ground with an interesting variety of sources helping to break ground.

UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond, writing in the Sunday Times, described the killing of Foley as “an utter betrayal of everything the British people stand for” whilst British intelligence services confirmed to the same paper that they had narrowed the list of suspects down to a handful — the first being a former London-based rapper who goes by the stage name of L Jinny.

Developments also appear to have been made on the location of the video with British blogger, Brown Moses, claiming to have located the site of the execution.

Eliot Higgins, who writes under the pseudonym Brown Moses, through close analysis of the Foley video and relevant satellite imagery, has matched it to a barren hilltop just south of the Isil stronghold of Raqqa in eastern Syria. Among several features, he cites a dirt track and break in the hills, both of which are just visible in the background of the video, and matches them to features on a satellite image of southern Raqqa.

L Jinny, or Abdul Majed Abdul Bary, 24, an East Londoner of Egyptian descent, made headlines earlier this year when he tweeted a photo of himself holding a severed head.

An aspiring rapper by the name of L Jinny before joining Isil, recordings of his songs online have garnered view counts reaching into the tens of thousands. In one of his tracks, “The Beginning”, he raps about the hardships of his life — crime, growing up in a single parent family, to name but a few. His lyrics appear heartfelt and passionate, with frequent references to his faith evident in lines such as “If you need protection, stay blessed with the lord”.

Another common reference is to his father Adel Abdul Bary who, interestingly enough, was extradited by Britain to the US in 2012 on charges related to terrorism. He has been described as a “close lieutenant of Osama Bin Laden”. He is thought to have played a significant role in Al Qaida’s bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

The identification of Abdul Majed Bary as James Foley’s executioner is however far from confirmed.

British rapper “Tabanacle”, who collaborated with him on a track published in 2013, told Gulf News that he doubts it is Bary in the James Foley video. He added that he also didn’t see any influence or indication of the rapper’s faith when it came to his music, stating that “I just knew him as a good rapper, next thing I know he was gone”.

Doubts were also cast by Professor Peter Neumann, director of the London-based ICSR. He cites the executioner’s probable left-handedness. This would appear to contrast with the apparent right-handedness of Abdul Bary. His hand gestures are a prominent feature across many of his rap videos, he often points upwards or places his hand over his heart, this is almost always done with his right hand, yet James Foley’s murder is carried out by a man using his left hand.

Whilst it would appear to be only a matter of time before the identity of Foley’s murderer is confirmed, the back story to Abdul Majed Bary, whether he turns out to be the killer or not, it is a profound example of Isil’s lure to foreign fighters

Originally published by Gulf News

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