UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday strongly condemned the assassination of U.S. journalist James Foley, terming the act as "heinous and cowardly murder," and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In a press statement issued here, the 15-nation Council " strongly condemned the heinous and cowardly murder of James Foley, an American journalist, by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," saying this incident is "a tragic reminder" of the increasing dangers journalists face every day in Syria.
It also once again demonstrates the brutality of ISIL, also known as Islamic State (IS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people, the statement said.
The Council members expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the family of the victim, to the U.S. government, as well as to the families of all victims of ISIL.
The most powerful body of the UN stressed that "ISIL must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out," calling for a common effort amongst governments and institutions.
The Council also recalled that, "in accordance with international humanitarian law, journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are generally considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such."
"The members of the Security Council demanded the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all those who are kept hostage by ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida," the statement said.
Further, the Council stressed that those responsible for the killing of James Foley shall be held accountable, and urged all states, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the U.S. and all other relevant authorities in this regard.
ISIL fighters on Wednesday executed the U.S. journalist in retaliation for the U.S. air-strikes in Iraq. He was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012.