UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of American journalist James Foley by extremist Islamist militants, calling it "an abominable crime."
"The secretary-general condemns in the strongest terms the horrific murder of journalist James Foley, an abominable crime that underscores the campaign of terror the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues to wage against the people of Iraq and Syria," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson.
"The perpetrators of this and other such horrific crimes must be brought to justice," Ban stressed.
The UN chief also extended his deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Foley.
A video released by the ISIL militants Tuesday purported to show the beheading of Foley and contained threats to kill the other in retaliation against the recent U.S. intervention in Iraq. A masked fighter was shown beheading a man kneeling in an orange jumpsuit said to be Foley, a 40-year-old freelance journalist who disappeared in northwest Syria in 2012.
Earlier Wednesday, the White House said that the video showing the beheading of Foley had been authenticated by the U.S. intelligence community.
ISIL, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or simply the Islamic State (IS), has recently claimed to have established an "Islamic Caliphate" in parts of Syria and Iraq, threatening the stability of the region.
The group, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said their goal is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria to fight the Shiite- led Iraqi central government and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose top ranks are from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
The UN Security Council has recently adopted a resolution choking off the flow of fund and fighters to the militant group.