The extremist Islamic State has claimed to have executed journalist James Foley, who has been missing since November 2012 when he was kidnapped while reporting in Syria.
The video asserts that the alleged killing of Foley is in retaliation for recent airstrikes by the United States against IS militants in northern Iraq. In it, Foley, kneeling next to an apparent IS militant, makes comments against the US for its actions. The militant also claims to be holding journalist Steven Joel Soltoff, who went missing in Syria a year ago.
Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder, made the following 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. We have been informed that the FBI is in the process of evaluating the video posted by the Islamic State to determine if it is authentic. Until we have that determination, we will not be in a position to make any further statement. We ask for your prayers for Jim and his family.”
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden affirmed in a statement that US officials are working to authenticate the video.
“We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its 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. We will provide more information when it is available,” the statement said.
GlobalPost, for whom Foley had reported in Syria, has mounted an extensive international investigation since November 2012 to determine who kidnapped Foley and where he was being held. Significant research has been undertaken throughout the Middle East, including along the Syria-Turkish border, in Lebanon, in Jordan and in other locations.
Foley was on a freelance assignment for GlobalPost when he was abducted in northern Syria on November 22, 2012. He was on his way to the Turkish border when he was stopped by a group of armed men. Foley reported for GlobalPost from Libya and Afghanistan before traveling to Syria in the early days of the now long-running civil war that has taken the lives of more than 170,000.
He previously reported for GlobalPost in Afghanistan and in Libya before covering the civil war in Syria starting in 2012. Foley’s last article for GlobalPost detailed the growing frustration with the war among civilians in Aleppo.
Working in close coordination with the Foley family, GlobalPost has conducted an extensive international investigation to assist in securing Foley’s release from captivity. Few details of the investigation have been publicly released and the Foley family’s last public statement on the kidnapping came in October 2013.
While covering the Libyan civil war in 2011, Foley and two other journalists, American Claire Gillis and Spaniard Manu Brabo, endured a 44-day captivity in April and May of that year at the hands of then Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi. A fourth journalist, South AfricanAnton Hammerl, was killed when the journalists were captured by Gaddafi fighters near Benghazi in eastern Libya. Foley later returned to Libya to cover Gaddafi’s fall and eventual death. Foley and GlobalPost correspondent Tracey Shelton were at the scene of Gaddafi’s capture in October 2011.