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James Foley's brother: US needs to do more

The brother of murdered journalist James Foley has urged the US Government and its allies to do more to secure the safety of fellow American journalist and Islamic State hostage Steven Sotloff.

James Foley's brother Michael. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Michael Foley said, "I don't have all the answers but what I can say is that I urge the US Government, our partners and our allies to do everything they can and to treat this with the utmost sense of urgency because there [are] things that can be done."

"Certainly we don't have complete control over the situation, but I just want to make sure for Stephen's family and for others that we are doing everything possible."

James Foley and others 'waterboarded by Islamic State'

At least four hostages held in Syria by Islamic State militants, including US journalist James Foley, were waterboarded during their captivity, The Washington Post has reported.

James Foley is believed to have been beheaded by the Islamic State. Credit: Nicole Tung

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the treatment of Western hostages, said the Islamic State captors appeared to model the technique used by the CIA on three terrorism suspects captured after the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center.

A source close to the family of a hostage held by Islamic State acknowledged to Reuters that hostages had been waterboarded, but gave no further details.

Waterboarding, a process characterised by Barack Obama and many other US politicians as torture, simulates drowning. Captives have water poured over their noses and mouths until they feel as if they are suffocating.

Three Americans and fewer than 10 other western hostages are still being held by the militant group, according to people familiar with the situation.

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Islamic State releases video of 'killing of Syrian troops'

More than 150 Syrian soldiers were stripped and marched into the desert to be shot by Islamic State militants, activists have claimed.

The video shows the men being marched through the desert, barefoot and in their underwear Credit: YouTube

A video has been posted to YouTube purporting to show the men, who are barefoot and in their underwear, being escorted into the desert.

It then goes black before revealing a similar number of men, also in their underwear, lying dead in the sand.

The video goes on to show what appears to be the men dead in the sand Credit: YouTube

The video has yet to be verified but correspond to other reports from the region, and tie up with a statement and claims made via Twitter relating to the mass killing of troops captured in recent fighting for a string of military bases in north-eastern Syria.

There has been no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

UN 'making every effort' to release 43 peacekeepers

The UN is "making every effort to secure the release" of 43 peacekeepers detained by an armed group near Al Quneitra in the Golan Heights.

A further 81 peacekeepers are "currently being restricted to their positions" near Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah, the UN said.

An armoured vehicle carrying UNDOF peacekeepers near the Quneitra border crossing Credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The nationalities of the peacekeepers, who were serving with the UN Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDOF), is not clear. As of 31st July, there were peacekeepers from Ireland, the Netherlands, Fiji, Nepal, India and the Philippines serving in the force.

Smoke rises from the Quneitra border crossing in Golan Heights after it came under attack on Wednesday Credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Syrian jets shelled rebel positions near the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and fighting in the area is ongoing.

UN chief: Violation of ceasefire would be 'irresponsible'

A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has said that any violation of the ceasefire agreed today would be "utterly irresponsible".

He said the blockade of Gaza must end, and that the territory must be brought back under the control of one legitimate Palestinian government adhering to Palestine Liberation Organisation commitments.

"Israel's legitimate security concerns must be addressed," he added.

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Fears for crew as UN helicopter crashes in South Sudan

The UN Mission in South Sudan has said that one of its helicopters has crashed close to the small town of Bentiu in Unity State.

UNMISS said it was "deeply concerned about fate of crew".

Insurgents in Iraq 'have seized nuclear materials'

Insurgents in northern Iraq have seized nuclear materials from Mosul University, according to a letter from an Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations.

Islamist insurgents have seized nuclear materials in northern Iraq. Credit: Reuters

The letter appealed for UN help to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad" after around 88 pounds of uranium compounds were apparently seized.

In a letter obtained by Reuters, Iraq's UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on July 8: "Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state."

He added that the nuclear materials could "be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction" and warned they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

The materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use in manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction, a US government source told the news agency.

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