WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Islamic militants' execution of an American journalist represents a "terrorist attack" against the United States, an aide to President Barack Obama said on Friday.
"That represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen, and I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.
James Foley, a freelance American journalist who was captured by militants in Syria in November 2012, was shown on a video being beheaded by a masked militant from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to avenge ongoing air raids on the group's targets by U.S. warplanes.
Citing the killing of thousands of civilians, including Muslims, by ISIL militants, Rhodes emphasized that the group posed a threat not only to the United States, but to the entire world.
"We monitor very closely whether or not ISIL will seek to develop plots that are aimed at the West, aimed at beyond this geographic area where they have been operating," Rhodes said at a press briefing on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where Obama is having vacation.
The United States is actively consulting with European partners about how to watch the threat of the Islamic militants, he added.
According to reports of U.S. media, the ISIL militants who beheaded Foley in Syria had demanded 132.5 million U.S. dollars in ransom for his release. At Friday's briefing, Rhodes reiterated the U.S. policy of not paying ransoms to free hostages.
"The U.S. government remains absolutely committed to the notion that we will not provide funding for terrorist organizations," Rhodes said, adding that paying ransoms would allow terrorists to expand their operations and incentivize the kidnapping of foreigners.
Rhodes declined to disclose the number of American hostages being held by ISIL, citing sensitivity of the matter.
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