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Obama: Will 'see that justice is done' for Foley killing

President Obama: Foley's killers committed many cowardly, violent acts

President Barack Obama addressed the death of American journalist James Foley on Wednesday afternoon, condemning his killers and pledging to "do everything we can to protect our people."

Foley's beheading, which was released on video by Islamic State (or ISIS) militants Tuesday, "shocks the conscience of the entire world," the president said in a nationally televised statement from Martha's Vineyard. Obama said the United States would seek justice for the murder, emphasizing that he would continue to press the militants alongside regional allies.

"When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what's necessary to see that justice is done," he said.

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Obama also said ISIS was destined to fail because the future "is won by those who build and not destroy." He added that the Sunni jihadist group does not represent any religion or group of people.

"No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day," Obama said.

The White House confirmed Wednesday the authenticity of a video released by Islamic State militants showing Foley being beheaded.

Read More ISIS militants claim to execute American journalist

Since the United States began an airstrike campaign in Iraq earlier this month, the Obama administration has had several joint victories with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, including a humanitarian rescue mission and the retaking of the Mosul dam. Even so, Obama has repeatedly emphasized that he will not put American combat troops on the ground in Iraq.

—By CNBC staff