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Families Of ISIS Victims React To Identification Of 'Jihadi John'

Families of hostages killed by the self-described Islamic State militant group are reacting to the identification Thursday of "Jihadi John" as Mohammed Emzawi, a Kuwaiti-born British man who is seen in the group's videos appearing to behead the hostages.

Barak Barfi, spokesman for the family of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, told Sky News the family hopes the man known as "Jihadi John" "will be caught by American intelligence officials, brought to trial in the United States, and convicted for the crime of beheading their son."

Diane Foley, the mother of journalist James Foley, who was also killed by the group, told The Times of London: "It saddens me, his continued hatred. He felt wronged, now we hate him — now that just prolongs the hatred. We need to end it. As a mum I forgive him. You know, the whole thing is tragic — an ongoing tragedy."

Emzawi is thought to be in the videos of the killings of Sotloff, Foley, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning and U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman, also known as Peter Kassig.

Haines' wife, Dragana, told the BBC she hoped Emzawi is "caught alive."

"I think that's the only ... moral satisfaction for the families of all the people he murdered," she said. "If he gets killed in action, that way it would be a honorable death for him and that is the last thing I would actually want for someone like him."

Bethany Haines, Haines' daughter, disagreed. She told ITV News the families would only get closure when there is a "bullet between ... [Emzawi's] eyes."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.