Islamic State militants carried out their first “terrorist attack” against the United States when they beheaded American journalist James Foley, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said on Friday.

Rhodes was asked by a reporter if he agrees with former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell’s assertion that the murder of Foley was the “first terrorist attack against the United States” by ISIS militants.

This file photo posted on the website freejamesfoley.org shows journalist James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in July, 2012.In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP Photo/freejamesfoley.org, Nicole Tung, File)

This file photo posted on the website freejamesfoley.org shows journalist James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in July, 2012.In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP Photo/freejamesfoley.org, Nicole Tung, File)

“Absolutely,” Rhodes responded. “When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack. That represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen.”

Rhodes went on to say that President Barack Obama understand the threat that Islamic State militants represent to American personnel in the Middle East, which is why he recently decided to launch military attacks against them.

“Clearly the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront, an attack not just on him, but he’s an American. And we see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that,” he continued.

This story will be updated with video.