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James Foley beheading: UK 'close' to identifying apparent English jihadist who murdered American journalist

British intelligence agencies are "close" to identifying the apparently English jihadist who beheaded an American journalist, the UK's ambassador to the United States has said.

MI5 and MI6 have been piecing together intelligence and evidence from the horrific video footage of the brutal murder to track down the identity of the Islamic State (IS) killer who has been dubbed "jihadi John".

Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott told US news network CNN that Britain is on the brink of establishing who he is.

"I do know from my colleagues at home that we are close," he told the State of the Union programme.

Foreign Office and Home Office officials refused to comment on the claims.

"We do not comment on security matters," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

More to follow

Further reading

Mass to be held for reporter Foley

UK 'close' to identifying jihadist

Derryman's journey from disillusioned teen to Syrian jihadist leaves neighbours at complete loss  

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