Last updated: 3 September, 2014

Beheading of US journalists “act of savagery”

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Wednesday condemned the beheading of two American journalists by jihadists as “an act of savagery and evil” that shows the urgency of defeating them.

“We have condemned very strongly and abhorred the killing… of two American journalists,” Zebari said at a televised joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart John Baird.

“This is what we in Iraq are facing daily. The atrocities, the violations these people have committed against our people, against the minorities, are unspeakable,” he said.

“This shows the urgency of defeating these evil people.”

The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has released videos showing the beheading of American journalists and James Foley Steven Sotloff, the latter of which emerged online Tuesday.

Iraq is battling to push back IS-led militants who overran major areas of five provinces in an offensive launched in June.

IS has executed captives, carried out kidnappings and targeted minorities in a campaign of brutality that has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee.

Amnesty International has accused IS of “systematic ethnic cleansing” and mass killings of minorities in Iraq, while a senior UN rights official said it is responsible for “acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale.”