(CNN) -

The beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS militants has stirred grim memories, bringing into focus once again the risks faced by reporters in modern conflicts.

Foley's death recalls the murder of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal correspondent who was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002.

Both journalists were decapitated. Videos of their killings were then posted online by extremist groups.

In Pearl's case, it was al Qaeda. In Foley's, it was ISIS, a splinter group disowned by al Qaeda earlier this year.

'I wish I had more time'

In the video posted Tuesday on YouTube, Foley is seen kneeling next to a man dressed in black. Foley reads a message, presumably scripted by his captors, that his "real killer'' is America.

"I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope for freedom to see my family once again," he can be heard saying in the video, which CNN is not airing.

He is then shown being beheaded.

U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that intelligence agencies are "working as quickly as possible" to determine the video's authenticity.

"If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," she said.

Shock waves from Pearl murder

The 2002 murder of Pearl, only months after the September 11 attacks, provoked shock and revulsion around the world because of its brutality and the profession of its victim.

"What it demonstrates is that the business of reporting on war has changed fundamentally," the veteran war correspondent Scott Anderson wrote in the New York Times Magazine following Pearl's killing.

"The powers that be in a conflict zone no longer regard the media as a neutral observer but rather as a strategic component -- something to be manipulated or co-opted or simply got rid of," Anderson wrote.

But Pearl's murder, and the worldwide attention it received, also "catalyzed the resurgence" of the beheading of captives by Islamic militants, Timothy Furnish, a historian, wrote in a 2005 article for the Middle East Quarterly.

During the Iraq War, militants decapitated three Americans -- the businessman Nicholas Berg and construction company employees Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley -- as well as numerous other foreigners and countless Iraqis.

In Saudi Arabia, al Qaeda terrorists beheaded an American businessman, Paul Johnson Jr., in 2004.

ISIS's brutality

Now, the focus is on ISIS, which has become notorious for its savage practices in Syria and Iraq, including putting victims' severed heads on poles.

The extremist group, which calls itself the Islamic State, has taken control of large areas of Syria and Iraq, bringing with it ruthless slaughter of civilians and persecution of minorities.

It has carried out executions, including beheadings, as part of its effort to establish an Islamic caliphate that stretches from Syria into Iraq. In many cases, the group has videotaped the executions and posted them online.

The ISIS threat in northern Iraq grew severe enough for the United States to step in with airstrikes to help Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

That decision apparently prompted ISIS to retaliate with the brutal killing of Foley, who disappeared in northwest Syria in November 2012.

"Our hearts go out to the family of journalist James Foley. We know the horror they are going through," said Pearl's mother, Ruth, according to a Twitter post Tuesday by the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

Message to Obama