Reporter’s death galvanizes anger

Published 10:16 am Thursday, August 21, 2014

PARIS — The killing of an American reporter is galvanizing international anger at Islamic State extremists and fueling fears about the flow of foreign fighters joining their ranks. But governments from the Mideast to Europe and even Washington appear uncertain about how to stop them.

The international police agency Interpol said Thursday it wants a globally coordinated push to stem the tide of international fighters joining the Islamic State group that has swallowed up territory across Iraq and Syria.

Up to now, actions against them have been decided largely at a national level. The U.S. sent in forces and airstrikes. Some European countries are sending weapons to those opposing IS fighters. Some Mideast countries are tightening their borders.

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Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Moussawi expressed hope that the international attention could produce a consensus on what to do next.

“The world must unite to eradicate this organization and those alike. It is supported by countries, organizations and individuals and it cannot be eliminated unless we fight this extremism in all possible ways,” he said.

One thorny question is how to cut off funding for the Islamic State fighters. Some accuse Qatar of being among their financial backers, which the government denies. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned Foley’s killing, saying it was “a heinous crime that goes against all Islamic and humanitarian principles, as well as international laws and conventions.”

Interpol didn’t give any specific recommendations but is particularly concerned that a man who appears in a video of journalist James Foley’s death may be British.

“(This highlights) the need for a multilateral response against the terror threat posed by radicalized transnational fighters travelling to conflict zones in the Middle East,” said Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble.

More than a thousand radicals from Europe have joined militant fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Interpol has long warned of the threat such fighters pose. European governments worry those radicals could stage attacks when they get home and have introduced new anti-terrorism measures to try to catch them or stop them from leaving in the first place.

French President Francois Hollande urged other countries to wake up to the threat of the group.

“It’s not simply a terrorist group like those, alas, we have already known — dispersed, scattered, with several chiefs. This is a terrorist enterprise that has decided to enslave, annihilate, destroy,” he said Thursday.