James Foley’s captors gave parents false deal hope

John and Diane Foley spoke on television about their ordeal. Picture: AP
John and Diane Foley spoke on television about their ordeal. Picture: AP
Share this article
Have your say

THE PARENTS of murdered journalist James Foley said yesterday that they regarded an e-mail received from his captors last week as a sign they could negotiate with the Islamic militants.

Speaking on NBC’s Today programme, John and Diane Foley said they had last heard from the captors via several e-mails in December.

Mr Foley said he was excited to see the latest e-mail – even though the kidnappers threatened to kill his son – because he hoped they would be willing to do a deal.

“I underestimated that point,” Mr Foley said of the threat. “I did not realise how brutal they were.”

James Foley, 40, was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012. His Islamic State captors had demanded $132.5 million (£80m) from his parents and political concessions from Washington.

The demands were also passed to one of his employers, news organisation GlobalPost, which was not in a position to pay the huge ransom.

The militants revealed Foley’s death in a video released on Tuesday. The extremists said they killed him in retaliation for US air strikes on Islamic State positions in northern Iraq.

The Foleys, from Rochester, New Hampshire, said they had set up a special e-mail address and sent multiple messages to try to engage the militants.

“We were just anxiously waiting,” Mrs Foley said.

GlobalPost, based in Boston, released a copy of the captors’ final e-mail. It said: “Today our swords are unsheathed towards you, GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS ALIKE! AND WE WILL NOT STOP UNTILL (sic) WE QUENCH OUR THIRST FOR YOUR BLOOD.”

New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan said that flags would fly at half-mast in honour of Foley on Sunday, the day a church service is planned in remembrance.

She said: “An unconscionable act of terror took him from us far too soon, but his unyielding commitment to advancing our cherished First Amendment right across the globe and the truths he unveiled will live on forever.”