A senior Western intelligence official has confirmed to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin that 23-year-old London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary is a leading suspect in the execution of American journalist James Foley.

The Sunday Times of London first reported the news. U.S. intelligence officials are not yet commenting.


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Abdel Bary’s Egyptian-born father was extradited from London to the U.S. in 2012 for his alleged connection to Osama bin Laden and role in the 1998 bombings of an embassy in Africa.

The suspect traveled to Syria last year to fight with ISIS and recently tweeted a photo with a severed head.

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The Sunday Times and Sunday People identified Bary as a member of a group of at least three British-born ISIS fighters known among former hostages as "The Beatles."

The Sunday Times reported that MI5 and MI6, Britain's two major intelligence agencies, had identified the man who did the brutal deed, though he had not been publicly identified.

A counterterrorism source told Fox News that the investigation was moving forward and slowly eliminating individuals of interest. The source also told Fox News that the FBI had opened a crisis file shortly after Foley was kidnapped in northern Syria in November 2012 that included signals intelligence and interviews with former hostages. 

The Sunday Mirror, citing British intelligence sources, identified two other suspects as 20-year-old Abu Hussain al-Britani, originally from Birmingham, and 23-year-old Abu Abduallah al-Britani (no known relation), originally from the county of Hampshire on England's south coast. 

The Mail on Sunday reported that the three men known as "John," "George," and "Ringo" had formed a special kidnapping gang that may have targeted Westerners like Foley. The paper reported that the hostages regarded the group as particularly vicious jailers, who routinely beat their prisoners and tortured them with Tasers. At one point, the paper reported, the "Beatles" were actually prohibited from guarding the hostages due to the level of violence they inflicted.

According to The Mail on Sunday, the "Beatles" also boasted that they had made millions of dollars from ransoms paid by European countries, enough to "retire to Kuwait or Qatar," as one hostage told the paper.