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Islamic State Sought $132 Million Ransom for Journalist

  • VOA News

FILE - American journalist James Foley is shown in Benghazi, Libya, in this image from a video released by GlobalPost April 7, 2011.

FILE - American journalist James Foley is shown in Benghazi, Libya, in this image from a video released by GlobalPost April 7, 2011.

The international news outlet that American journalist James Foley reported for says his Islamic captors demanded $132 million in ransom for his release before they decided to behead him.

Foley was freelancing for GlobalPost when he was captured in Syria in late 2012 and never heard from again. A spokesman for the news outlet said Thursday that Islamic State militants demanded a payment of 100 million euros in exchange for his release.

GlobalPost said it turned over the demand to U.S. investigators. But, to avoid encouraging kidnappings, the United States has not paid ransoms in numerous instances where Americans have been held captive in combat zones throughout the world. It has exchanged prisoners in some instances.

The United States also has dispatched military forces in several attempts to free its citizens, including Foley, 40, and other Americans held captive in Syria.

But the U.S. Defense Department on Wednesday said a rescue mission authorized by President Barack Obama earlier this summer failed because the hostages were not at the location where they were believed to have been held.

The Pentagon did not say exactly where and when the rescue attempt was carried out.

US airstrikes in Iraq continue

Militants from the Islamic State group released a video this week showing Foley's execution and warning that a second journalist, Steven Sotloff, also would be killed if Obama did not end U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State militants in Iraq.

But the United States has continued the attacks, including more on Thursday.

Interpol said Foley's beheading shows the need for a coordinated global effort to combat the threat posed by foreign fighters traveling to conflict zones in the Middle East.

The international police agency said Foley's killing has appalled the world and illustrates the "depravity" of the Islamic State fighters operating in Iraq and Syria.

The statement followed similar words Wednesday from Obama, who said the United States will continue to do what it must to protect Americans and will relentlessly pursue Foley's killers.

The Islamic State member who decapitated Foley spoke English with a British accent. British investigators are trying to identify him.

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