News / Middle East

Islamic State Sought $132 Million Ransom for Journalist

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.
VOA News

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.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: mickey from: kearny,nj
August 22, 2014 8:40 AM
there was more press and outrage when the US MARINES were urinating on the dead terrorist than there is for this guy Foley who was innocent of everything. now tell me our news outlets do not follow the commands from the white house.

by: AndyfromChicago from: Chicago, USA
August 21, 2014 6:28 PM
My condolences to the Foley family, whose anguish I can only imagine.

As awful as this sounds, the US and Britain are absolutely correct in their refusal to pay any ransom for hostages taken by ISIS, or any similar terrorist organization. These terrorist groups use the taking of hostages as a fund-raising strategy, and payment of ransoms will only encourage further hostage-takings.

Had GlobalPost or our government paid the $130mm ransom, I also shudder to think of the weapons that ISIS would have bought with that money.

by: jimmy kraktov from: Canada
August 21, 2014 4:26 PM
My sympathies to the Foley family. However, these journalists know the danger of their chosen career. ISIS and other groups like them have absolutely no respect for life, and no respect for any laws that they've broken.

Any citizen of a Western democracy that chooses to leave that country to fight for a terrorist group should be immediately stripped of that citizenship, even if they were born with it. Once they pick up a rifle to fight against us, they've forfeited all rights afforded them by their citizenship and have effectively abandoned any rights or protections that citizenship allowed. Don't allow them to come 'home' as they've obviously found a new one. No Mulligan allowed!

by: yyt from: WY
August 21, 2014 3:57 PM
The latest poster child for military expansion in the middle east poses a host of disturbing questions.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs