‘We will be relentless’: Obama vows to punish ISIS for beheading. http://tiny.iavian.net/2r3l
‘We will be relentless’: Obama vows to punish ISIS for beheading
Obama seemed to double down on attacking ISIS after a militant beheaded photojournalist James Foley in a shocking video
‘One thing we can all agree on is a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century,’ a defiant Obama saidHe played a round of golf immediately after delivering his remarks
US Secret Service and UK intelligence are searching for Foley’s executioner, who spoke with a British accent in the video
Nearly a dozen new airstrikes near the Mosul Dam came after gruesome video showed an ISIS militant cutting off photojournalist’s headISIS threatened to kill a second American journalist if airstrikes continuePresident Obama spoke from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard
White House has confirmed the footage is authentic
His parents issued a statement stating their ‘pride’ in their son
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the U.S. won’t back down from ISIS, the militant terror group that released a video Tuesday showing one of its militants beheading and American photojournalist.
‘Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL,’ said Obama, calling the group by the White House’s preferred name.
‘No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day,’ he said.
‘ISIL speaks for no religion,’ he said, aiming his words at the Islamist faction that claims to have established a Muslim caliphate in portions of Syria and Iraq. ‘Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.’
Foley stood ‘in stark contrast’ to his captors and executioners, he said, blaming them for a series of ‘cowardly acts of violence.’
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Obama delivered a statement from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, during his vacation on Wednesday. His remarks come after ‘Islamic State’ insurgents released a video showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago
Americans ‘are all heartbroken at their loss and join them in honoring Jim,’ he said, somber but not wearing a necktie, as has been his practice during his extended family holiday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that Foley’s killing was ‘murder without any justification,’ and seemed resigned to the fact that his executioner is from the UK.
‘We have not identified the individual responsible,’ he said from No. 10 Downing Street, ‘but from what we have seen it looks increasingly likely that it is a British citizen.’
The Prime Minister condemned ‘the barbaric and brutal act that has taken place.’
And ‘let’s be clear what this act is,’ he said. ‘It is an act of murder.’
A defiant Obama agreed. ‘One thing we can all agree on is a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century,’ he said.
As with his last public statements, Obama followed a brief speech with a round of golf, according to a White House pool report.
But the president said the terror group has tortured and killed ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, including women and children.
‘They have rampaged across cities and villages, killing innocent civilians,’ he said.
‘They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can, for no other reason than that they practice another religion.’
He seemed to double down on the threat of airstrikes, even though Foley’s executioner claimed another journalist will die if they continue.
‘There has to be a common effort to expel this cancer so it does not spread,’ Obama said.
U.S. Secret Service and intelligence services in the United Kingdom are searching for Foley’s executioner who spoke with a British accent in the video, the Guardian reported Wednesday.
The Englishman is believed to be the ringleader of a group of British fighters holding other foreign hostages in Syria.
He is reportedly from London, and one of the point-men engaged in hostage negotiations in Raqqa, Iraq, an ISIS stronghold.
One former hostage told the Guardian that the British executioner is ‘intelligent, educated and a devout believer in radical Islamic teachings,’ the paper reported.
The one-time captive added that prisoners referred to their three captors as ‘the Beatles’ because they were British.
‘WE WILL BE VIGILANT AND WE WILL BE RELENTLESS’: PRESIDENTBARACK OBAMA’S STATEMENT FROM MARTHA’S VINEYARD
‘Good afternoon, everybody. Today, the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley by the terrorist group, ISIL.
‘Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother, and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away. He was taken hostage nearly two years ago in Syria, and he was courageously reporting at the time on the conflict there.
‘Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world. He was 40 years old – one of five siblings, the son of a mom and dad who worked tirelessly for his release. Earlier today, I spoke to the Foleys and told them that we are all heartbroken at their loss, and join them in honoring Jim and all that he did.
‘Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers. Let’s be clear about ISIL. They have rampaged across cities and villages – killing innocent, unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They abduct women and children, and subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims – both Sunni and Shia – by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them when they can for no other reason than they practice a different religion. They declared their ambition to commit genocide against an ancient people.
‘So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day. ISIL has no ideology of any value to human beings. Their ideology is bankrupt. They may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision, and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.
‘And people like this ultimately fail. They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.
‘The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done. And we act against ISIL, standing alongside others.
‘The people of Iraq, who with our support are taking the fight to ISIL, must continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their communities. The people of Syria, whose story Jim Foley told, do not deserve to live under the shadow of a tyrant or terrorists. They have our support in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.
‘From governments and peoples across the Middle East there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.
‘Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday. And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility. And that’s what Jim Foley stood for, a man who lived his work; who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings; who was liked and loved by friends and family.
‘Today, the American people will all say a prayer for those who loved Jim. All of us feel the ache of his absence. All of us mourn his loss. We keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families. We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.
‘May God bless and keep Jim’s memory, and may God bless the United States of America.’
Foley’s mother and father called on ISIS militants to spare the lives of other captured hostages as the authenticity of the barbaric video of his death was confirmed by the White House on Wednesday morning.
James’ mother Diane said Wednesday that ordinary Syrians her son interacted with loved him.
‘He ate with them, he lived with them,’ she said. ‘He had this way of getting people to tell their story – how he did it I don’t know, he didn’t speak a word of Arabic.’
‘We are all heartbroken at their loss,’ Obama said moments later.
White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden issued a statement to say that the ‘US Intelligence Community has analyzed the recently released video showing U.S. citizens James Foley and Steven Sotloff.’
‘We have reached the judgment that this video is authentic. We will continue to provide updates as they are available.’
Obama’s remarks came hours after UK Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his vacation to return to head his governments response following the brutal murder of the American journalist by an ISIS jihadist thought to be British.
America’s military has carried out nearly a dozen new airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday, with the attacks coming after the terror group’s appalling video release.
Foley’s executioner addressed President Barack Obama personally in the video, warning that his group would kill Steven Sotloff – another American journalist the group is holding – if the U.S. didn’t stop a campaign of targeted attacks that Obama green-lighted on August 8.
The president had held back from making a public statement about the beheading until the video could be formally authenticated.
Despite this, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers called on the president to cut his vacation short and return to Washington to deal with the threat to US citizens posed by ISIS.
Rogers used the example of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has returned from his beachside vacation to front up his own governments response.
Terror: Photojournalist James Wright Foley spoke before his beheading to say ”I call on my friends, family members and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government.’
‘The optics of being on vacation and not coming away from that vacation, I just think are bad,’ Rogers said on Fox News.
‘That is why I think Cameron is going back. He is going to show he is the prime minister and he is taking this matter seriously, and he is on the job making the decisions that you need to make to keep Britain safe.’
Compounding this, it emerged on Wednesday that several senior US officials with direct knowledge of the situation said ISIS very recently threatened to kill Foley to avenge the crushing airstrikes over the past two weeks against militants advancing on Mount Sinjar, the Mosul dam and the Kurdish capital of Irbil.
Disturbing footage of the execution appeared on Tuesday in a video titled ‘A message to the US’, in which an apparently coerced Foley, 40, recites a pre-prepared script presumably given to him by his captors which he delivers unflinchingly to the camera.
Kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving 2012 while working for the GlobalPost agency, Foley brands the US government his real killers and denounces the country of his birth, while his soon-to-be murderer stands over him dressed in black robes and armed with a small knife and gun.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit, with his head shaven, Foley’s voice is strong, but he often pauses to take deep breaths and appears to struggle at times to swallow as he battles against fear.
The executioner, who speaks directly to the camera in what appears to be a British accent, then blames President Barack Obama for Foley’s death before brutally beheading the reporter while the camera rolls.
In a chilling warning at the end of the grisly film, the executioner shows another American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, who went missing in August 2013, saying: ‘The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.’
Speaking after the video emerged, Foley’s mother Diane had issued a statement saying that she and her husband John have nothing but admiration for the bravery of their ‘extraordinary’ son, who they say gave his life to expose the suffering of the Syrian people.
At work: James Wright Foley, had been missing since November 2012, after being taken hostage at gunpoint by militants from the pre-ISIS group Jabhat al Nusra while reporting from Taftanaz, northern Syria
Foley, has been missing since November 2012, after being taken hostage at gunpoint by militants from the group Jabhat al Nusra while reporting from Taftanaz, northern Syria, for the GlobalPost.
Jabhat al Nusra subsequently joined forces with ISIS – which did not exist in anything like its current form when Foley was taken – which explains how he ended up in their hands.
‘One thing we can all agree on is a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century’President Barack Obama
ISIS posted the extremely graphic video shot at an unknown location, on social media sites as proof of their barbaric actions.
The video was designed to send a clear signal to the U.S. to halt the airstrikes that have destroyed a significant amount of ISIS’ military equipment in and around the Mosul Dam, and allowed Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to reclaim the strategically important complex.
On Wednesday morning American military jets were seen in the air above the dam as the Kurdish troops who now control it were drawn into fighting with ISIS fighters who remain in the area, hoping to retake control.
The gruesome video presented President Barack Obama with bleak options that could define America’s involvement in Iraq and the public reaction to it, potentially dragging him further into a conflict he built much of his presidency on ending.
Frightening: James Wright Foley tenses as his executioner addresses the camera who says this act of revenge is in responce to US airstrikes on Iraq
Addressing the camera: James Wright Foley’s executioner holds his knife and unfurls his reasons for taking the American journalists life before he beheads him
In a statement posted on the ‘Free James Foley’ Facebook page on Tuesday night, Diane Foley wrote that she and husband John ‘have never been prouder of our son Jim.’
TWITTER ACTING TO REMOVE GORY PICTURES AND VIDEO OF JAMES FOLEY
Social networking site Twitter has said it will consider the removal of images of dead people at the request of family members.
In a crackdown on gory and upsetting photographs that have emerged on the site recently, Twitter said it would consider taking down images of deceased individuals ‘from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death’.
But the site said it would take into account the public interest of any content and warned that it may not agree to all requests.
The announcement follows the shocking beheading of American photojournalist James Foley, 40, by an ISIS militant yesterday.
Yesterday, the White House contacted social networks asking them to remove videos of his death.
Twitter declined to say whether it had also received a request from Mr Foley’s family.
Mrs. Foley wrote that her son spent his life fighting to expose the suffering of the Syrian people, and pleaded with ISIS to release remaining hostages.
Foley was one of 20 journalists missing in Syria, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
Many of them are thought likely to have passed into ISIS’ hands either because the kidnappers have subsequently sworn allegiance to group’s self-declared caliphate, or because they were sold on.
‘We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world,’ Mrs. Foley’s statement read.
‘We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person,’ she added.
As of 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Foley’s family have still had no confirmation from the US government of their son and brother’s death according to his former employer.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the video as he was flying back to the White House on Air Force One From his Martha’s Vineyard vacation. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says the administration has seen the video.
However, other political leaders were quicker to react.
British foreign secretary Phillip Hammond today said the footage ‘appears to be genuine’, which would make it the first time ISIS has killed an American since the conflict broke out in Syria in 2011.
Tragedy: James Wright Foley has been missing since Thanksgiving, 2012 and was beheaded by ISIS forces in a recorded message to President Obama on Tuesday
FULL MESSAGE FROM JAMES WRIGHT FOLEY’S MOTHER:
‘We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.
‘We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.
‘We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.’
As the disturbing video unfolds, Foley, dressed in orange and on his knees, is unflinching to the end as he addresses the camera before his death.
It appears the journalist has been coerced into blaming the United States by his brutal captors.
Foley also leaves a haunting message for his brother, John, who he is heard to say is either a past or serving member of the US Air Force.
Referring to airstrikes launched nearly two weeks ago in Iraq, Foley says: ‘I died that day, John, when your colleagues dropped that bomb on these people. They signed my death certificate’
Foley goes on to blame the ‘complacency and criminality’ of the US for his impending death.
Speaking today British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the video appeared to be genuine, adding it was ‘an appalling example of the brutality of this organization’.
A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister David Cameron, added: ‘If true, the brutal murder of James Foley is shocking and depraved.’
The UK would oppose the Islamic State ‘with every breath in our body’ and could send British troops to Baghdad to train Iraqi forces to fight the ‘evil organization’, he added.
Two years of hope: James Foley’s parents, John and Diane Foley, pose outside their house where a yellow ribbon hangs in an image taken after they decided to publicize his disappearance
‘I GUESS I WISH I WASN’T AMERICAN’: PHOTOJOURNALIST JAMES WRIGHT FOLEY’S FINAL WORDS TO CAMERA BEFORE HIS DEATH
‘I call on my friends family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government. For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.
‘My message to my beloved parents: save me some dignity and don’t accept any (unclear, possibly says media) compensation for my death, from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin with a recent aerial campaign in Iraq.
‘I call on my brother John, who is/was (this part is also unclear) member of the US Air Force, think about what you are doing, think about lives you destroy including those of your own family.
‘I call on you John, think about who made the decision to bomb Iraq recently and kill those people, whoever they may have been.
‘Think John, who did they really kill? Did they think about me, you our family when they made that decision?
‘I died that day John, when your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people – they signed my death certificate.
‘I wish I had more time, I wish I could have the hope of freedom and see my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.’
In his tragic final message to the world, no doubt prepared for him word-by-word by his captors, a resigned says he wished he’d been able to see his family again.
And in a last insult from his vengeful executioners before his brutal beheading Foley is made to deny his birthright as a citizen of the United States.
‘I wish I had more time, I wish I could have the hope of freedom and see my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American,’ he says.
Foley then stops speaking and his executioner steps forward. The masked, armed and robe-clad man speaks in perfect English in what sounds like a London or southern English accent.
Horror: In another chilling warning, the executioner holds another man, on his knees with his hands tied behind his back, by the scruff of the neck. A caption claims it is missing American Steven Joel Sotloff
Some experts have since suggested the executioner’s accent also has mild North African intonations, which could well mean he moved to Britain at a young age.
‘This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State,’ begins the executioner.
‘You have plotted against us and gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military airforce is attacking us daily in Iraq,’ the executioner says.
‘Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims. You are no longer fighting an insurgency.
‘WE WILL OPPOSE ISIS WITH EVERY BREATH IN OUR BODY’: BRITISH PRIME MINISTER LEADS INVESTIGATION INTO JAMES FOLEY DEATH
Prime Minister David Cameron has since broken off his vacation and was seen returning to 10 Downing Street in London earlier today to oversee Britain’s response to James Foley’s ‘shocking and depraved’ beheading and the hunt for the ‘British’ executioner.
Responding to the video, Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said ISIS was waging war on the West and must be dealt with, before adding that Foley’s executioner ‘appeared to be British’ and confirmed that the Government believed the footage to be genuine.
Calling ISIS an ‘evil organization’, Mr Hammond said he could send British troops to help train Iraqi government soldiers to help counter the growing threat the Islamist militants pose.
Mr Hammond said the video had not been verified but ‘all the hallmarks point to it being genuine’.
The Foreign Secretary said his reaction to the clip was ‘horror, absolutely horror at what appears to be a brutal execution’. He added: ‘On the face of it, it appears to be a British person.’
Mr Hammond said the Government knew there were ‘a significant number of British nationals in Syria and Iraq operating with extremist organizations’.
‘We are an Islamic Army and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.
‘So effectively, any aggression toward the Islamic State is aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership.
‘So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.’
At this point the executioner beheads Foley, who is kneeling bravely with hands tied behind his back.
STILL ALIVE: ISIS THREATENS TO KILL AMERICAN JOURNALIST STEVEN JOEL SOTLOFF NEXT
Next? Soltoff has been missing since August 2013, when he disappeared while reporting near Aleppo
At the end of the disturbing video, the masked ISIS operative issues a threat to kill another American journalist held captive if President Obama continues to order attacks against the group invading Iraq.
Freelance journalist Steven Joel Sotloff is paraded in front of the camera, and held by the collar of his shirt as the operatives says: ‘The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision’.
Sotloff has been missing since August 2013, when he was kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria.
He sent out his last tweet on August 3, talking about his hometown basketball team the Miami Heat.
According to his account, he was living in Benghazi, Libya at the time.
ABC News foreign editor Jon Williams tweeted today that Sotloff’s family were previously advised not to go public with news of his disappearance.
But a family friend wrote about Sotloff last December, saying he went missing August 4 and to pray for his return.
Sotloff, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, had been published in TIME, World Affairs, National Interest and the Christian Science Monitor.
The last story he filed was on November 26, 2012 titled ‘Libya’s New Crisis’
‘Steve Sotloff lived in Yemen for years, spoke good Arabic, deeply loved the Islamic world..for this he is threatened with beheading,’ friend Anne Marloe tweeted on Tuesday, following the video’s release.
In the video, Sotloff did not speak, and appeared with a shaved head and face.
Steven Sotloff’s former roommate at the University of Central Florida, Emerson Lotzia, was horrified that his friend’s life was in grave danger.
‘Everyone is scared right now,’ admitted Emerson, who works as a sports reporter at West Palm Beach tv station WPTV., to MailOnline.
‘No one really knows what to think because we never really thought that we would ever have one of our friends in this situation.’
Sotloff has been missing since the middle of 2013 and last tweeted on August 3rd, 2013 about his hometown basketball team the Miami Heat.
According to his Twitter account he was in Libya at the time of his disappearance.
Steven Sotloff’s parents and family are having a hard time coming to terms with the release of the video, a relative told Mail Online.
‘How could we be doing?’ Steven’s aunt, Rhona Forgang, said from her Pennsylvania home on Wednesday.
Mrs Forgang, whose brother is Steven Sotloff’s father Arthur, added that for more than a year the family had been advised to remain silent about his disappearance and whether Steven’s captives had been in touch with them.
The public release by ISIS of the gruesome video does not appear to have changed that. ‘We’ve been told to say nothing at all,’ she said today.
Steven Sotloff’s grandparents are Holocaust survivors, according to his mother’s biography on the website of a Jewish pre-school in Miami, where she works as a teacher.
Both her children, Steven, now 31, and his sister Lauren, 28, attended the Temple Beth-Am School in Pinecrest.
‘We’ve been praying for them and that’s all we can say,’ said a woman who answered the phone at the school this morning.
Support: Rev. Paul Gousse from Our Lady of the Holy Rosary leaves after meeting with the family of American freelance journalist James Foley in Rochester, New Hampshire, Tuesday night
Lauren’s boyfriend, Frank Castle, posted on his own Facebook page this morning a link to a community petition hosted on the official White House website that urges President Obama ‘to take immediate action to save Steven’s life by any means necessary’.
‘Up to this point it has been all under wraps due to a media blackout, I or anyone else couldn’t bring this to light til now as it’s gone public,’ Castle wrote.
It is not immediately clear why Foley would have released an anti-American statement knowing that he was going to die, but it was likely he was engaging in bargaining with his captors, possibly for the life of another fellow hostage.
Gruesome images of Foley’s brutal death were widely shared on social media – both in sickeningly celebratory tweets by crowing Islamists, and also by those that were shocked and appalled by the developments.
Although apparently unconnected, Twitter later released a statement saying it is reconsidering its image policy and may start removing images that show people in the moments before, during and immediately after death.
Among those condemning the widespread sharing of images of Foley being beheaded were his sister Kelly, who used Twitter to urge people not to distribute the footage – no matter how shocked and disgusted they were by it.
She also paid tribute to her late brother saying: ‘I love you James Foley. Rest peacefully; you’re free.’
Her messages sparked a trend among young Twitter users who used to hashtag #ISISMediaBlackout to deny militant group the attention it so clearly craves.
One young woman using the Twitter handle @LibyaLiberty wrote: ‘Amputate their reach. Pour water on their flame.’
‘From here on out, I won’t share any photo or video of violence intentionally recorded & released by ISIS for propaganda. #ISISMediaBlackout’ she added.
Foley’s beheading comes just one day after ISIS militants threatened to attack U.S. targets ‘in any place’ in a chilling YouTube video showing a blood-spattered American flag and the message in English: ‘We will drown all of you in blood’.
Unlike Al Qaeda – who have previously condemned the militant group as too extreme – ISIS has focused on seizing land in Iraq and Syria for its self-proclaimed caliphate, not attacking Western targets.
‘HE WAS AWARE OF THE DANGERS BUT BELIEVED IN WHAT HE WAS DOING’: FOLEY HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN KIDNAPPED IN SYRIA, FRIEND REVEALS
James Foley knew his job carried risks but ‘believed in what he was doing’ covering the Syrian conflict, a friend said.
The 40-year-old New Englander had been kidnapped before while covering fighting in Libya, but had been eager to get back into action, film-maker Matthew VanDyke told BBC Radio 4’s Today.
He said seeing news reports of his friend’s death was ‘a complete nightmare’ and urged other reporters in Syria and Iraq to take care, saying ‘if it can happen to him, it can happen to anybody’.
Mr Van Dyke said: ‘He was certainly aware of the dangers, he was very professional… He had been through a rough time in Libya when he was captured and even after that he came home a little bit and then he went right back to Libya to continue reporting on that conflict.’
Brave: James Wright Foley has previously been kidnapped in Libya but had been keen to remain a conflict journalist as he ‘believed in what he was doing’
Mr Van Dyke said his friend went into Syria knowing that his presence amid the conflict was as dangerous, if not more so, than it had been in Libya.
‘[But] he had a love for what he did and he wanted to tell the story of the Syrian people. And nothing was going to stop him from doing that.’
After being captured in Libya, Foley was held by the government alongside a small group of other journalists, but was released and given a one-year suspended sentence on charges of illegally entering the country.
In an interview about that experience, Foley said he ‘would love to go back’, but recalled the horror of seeing a colleague killed in a firefight. He also spoke of a love of his profession.
‘Journalism is journalism,’ he said. ‘If I had a choice to do Nashua [New Hampshire] zoning meetings or give up journalism, I’ll do it. I love writing and reporting.’
In an interview the BBC in a 2012 interview that he was ‘drawn to the drama of the conflict and trying to expose untold stories’.
He said: ‘There’s extreme violence, but there’s a will to find who these people really are. And I think that’s what’s really inspiring about it.’
‘Journalism is journalism,’ Foley said another time. ‘If I had a choice to do Nashua (New Hampshire) zoning meetings or give up journalism, I’ll do it. I love writing and reporting.’
His alma-mater, Marquette University said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by Foley’s death. It said he had a heart for social justice and used his talents to tell stories in the hopes they might make a difference.
‘We extend our heartfelt prayers and wishes for healing to James’ family and friends during this very difficult time,’ it said in a statement.
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned what it called Foley’s ‘barbaric murder’ by the Islamic State, which says his killing was retribution for recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
News of Foley’s murder came as President Barack Obama announced that Kurdish peshmerga troops, supported by US jets, had recaptured the strategically important Mosul Dam – hailing the offensive as a ‘major step forward’.
The dam had given the militants control over power and water supplies, and any breach of the vulnerable structure would have threatened thousands of lives.
Meanwhile, as the US Air Force carried out strikes on ISIS in Iraq, Syrian President Bashar Assad stepped up his own campaign against the group’s strongholds in his country.
Although not officially coordinated, the attacks have had the combined effect of hitting ISIS on two fronts – weakening their resistance to both and destroying a significant amount of equipment.
Background: Prior to a career in conflict journalism, James Wright Foley taught reading and writing skills to convicted felons at Cook County Jail in Chicago
The Foley family from Rochester, New Hampshire, had hoped keeping silent could aid his release from Syria, but early last year decided to appeal directly to his kidnappers, as they grew increasingly concerned.
A family friend named Holly Rene spoke to the New York Post and said the Foleys are now ‘falling apart with grief.’
‘I was just so hopeful Jimmy had, if they weren’t going to get any good news, that he would have been dead for a long time now and there was no suffering involved. And to think he went through two years just to have this ending, it’s beyond belief.’
‘These savages have got to be stopped. It’s coming West,’ the family friend added.
James Wright Foley, has been missing since November 2012, after being taken hostage at gunpoint by militants from the group Jabhat al Nusra while reporting from Taftanaz, northern Syria
James, or Jim as he is known to his family and friends, was the oldest of five children to parents John and Diane Foley.
He studied at Marquette University, Milwaukee, and later studied journalism at Northwestern University, in hicago, has also reported on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prior to a career in journalism, he taught reading and writing skills to convicted felons at Cook County Jail in Chicago.
Another American journalist, Austin Tice, is also missing after disappearing somewhere outside Damascus, Syria in August 2012. It is not known whether he is a hostage of ISIS.
His parents learned of Foley’s death as they were preparing a vigil to commemorate the two year anniversary of his kidnapping.
‘The last 635 days, we have had to share a horrible nightmare, which has made us close to the Foley family and our heart goes out to them. We pray eternal rest for James’ soul and comfort and peace for his family,’ the Tice family said in a statement.
‘FRIENDLY, COURAGEOUS AND IMPATIENT’: REMEMBERING JAMES WRIGHT FOLEY
The friends of photojournalist James Foley are mourning his loss online, following the 40-year-old’s execution by ISIS terrorists.
Foley, from Rochester, New Hampshire, was a seasoned reporter who went missing two years ago while covering the Syrian conflict.
‘James Foley was a generous colleague & friend. We had beers in Antakya a week before he was taken. We talked about marriage/kids,’ Buzzfeed’s Middle East correspondent Sheera Frenkel tweeted.
Following a video posted online showing Foley’s graphic beheading, his former employer GlobalPost issued a statement.
‘On behalf of John and Diane Foley, and also GlobalPost, we deeply appreciate all of the messages of sympathy and support that have poured in since the news of Jim’s possible execution first broke,’ Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder, said.
Mother Diane Foley talked about her son in a January 2013 interview with a local television station and said her son was ‘passionate about covering the story in Syria, passionate about the people there.’
He is the oldest of five children.
According to a bio on the website Free James Foley, the journalist had traveled extensively in the Middle East and North Africa on assignment and had covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Prior to becoming a journalist, Foley helped ’empower disadvantaged individuals as a teacher and mentor, assisting them in improving their lives,’ the website says.
He had been previously held captive while covering the uprising in Libya, and was released by Gaddafi’s forces after six weeks.
Foley spoke about the 44 days of captivity in a video for the Boston Globe in May 2011.
‘You don’t want to be defined as that guy who got captured in 2011,’ he said. ‘I believe that front-line journalism is important.’
Journalist Clare Morgana Gillis was also held captive with Foley in Libya, and wrote a 2013 essay in which she said captivity was ‘the state most violently opposite [Foley’s] nature.’
She also described him as gentle, friendly, courageous and impatient with ‘anything that slows his forward momentum’.
A May article in Vanity Fair about the dangers for journalists in Syria described Foley as ‘affable’ and devil-may-care’.
At the time of his disappearance, Foley was working as a freelancer for Agence France-Presse’s Global Post, but he previously contributed to Stars and Stripes and other outlets.
British extremists are among the most ‘most vicious and vociferous fighters’ in the Islamic State’s ranks in Syria and Iraq, a jihadism expert has said.
Sunni Muslims from the UK are taking part in the conflicts ‘in every way’, according to Shiraz Maher, from King’s College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.
That includes acting as suicide bombers and executioners, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme after the video purporting to show James Foley’s beheading by a British IS fighter emerged online.
Death: US reporter Daniel Pearl (left) was murdered in Pakistan by British-born Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (right)
Mr Foley is the second American journalist killed by a Islamist terrorist. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered by British born Omar Saeed Sheikh in Pakistan in 2002.
The black-clothed and masked man, who speaks with a London accent, threatened bloodshed in the gruesome video, speaking with confidence of when he accuses America of plotting against Muslims and interfering in their affairs, before taking a knife to his victim’s throat.
If it is confirmed, as it appears, that he is British he will be seen as the most extreme example yet of a fighter travelling from the UK to take part in brutal violence as a member of ISIS.
Allegiance: A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa
Mr. Maher, a senior research fellow at ICSR, told Today: ‘Unfortunately the British participation in the conflicts now raging in both Syria and Iraq has been has been one of full participation, one that has seen them at the front lines, taking part in the conflict in every way.
‘So we have seen British fighters out there operating as suicide bombers, we have seen them operating as executioners.
‘Unfortunately they are amongst some of the most vicious and vociferous fighters who are out there. That is unfortunately just a part of their radicalisation.’