ISIS didn’t negotiate for James Foley before beheading: family

ISIS didn't negotiate for James Foley before beheading: family

American journalist James Foley’s terrorist captors never made serious attempts to negotiate for a ransom before brutally beheading the New Hampshire native in 2013, his family testified on Monday.

The revelation came during testimony from Foley’s brother at the federal terror trial of El Shafee Elsheikh — an alleged member of the British-born ISIS executioners dubbed “The Beatles” who is charged in the kidnapping scheme that resulted in the deaths of Foley and three other Americans Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.

Foley, a freelance photographer, had left for Syria in 2012 to document the raging civil war in the country. He was familiar with the dangers of the trip, having been held captive covering the First Libyan Civil War the year prior.

Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, said she first became concerned when her son didn’t call on Thanksgiving. They finally learned he’d been taken hostage when they received an email from his captors in late November trying to establish a line of communication.

Emails exchanged in Nov. 2012 and Jan. 2013 demanded the release of Muslim prisoners or 100 million euros in exchange for the journalist, according to Michael Foley, his brother.

“We had no ability to secure either of those demands,” Michael Foley said Monday. “It’s not a reasonable demand. It’s not a negotiation, in my mind.”

This file photo posted on the website shows journalist James Foley in Aleppo, Syria.
Foley, a freelance photographer, had left for Syria in 2012 to document the raging civil war in the country.
AP/Nicole Tung

The captors proved that Foley was in their possession and alive by providing personal details about his life that only his family would know.

For eight grueling months, the Foleys received no response to multiple emails requesting to speak with the kidnappers. 

Then in August 2013,  they received an email titled: “A message to the American government and their sheep-like citizens,” criticizing a recent U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State.

Diane and John Foley, the parents of James Foley, a US journalist slain by Islamic State militants, return to the Alexandria federal court house after a break in the trial of IS member El Shafee Elsheikh.
Diane and John Foley claim their son’s captors never made serious attempts to negotiate for a ransom before brutally beheading him.

“As for the scum of your society who are held prisoner by us, THEY DARED TO ENTER THE LION’S DEN AND WHERE (sic) eaten,” the message said. It promised retaliation, ”the first of which being the blood of your American citizen, James Foley. He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!”

Foley was beheaded in a sickening video shared widely on the web a few days later.

His mother and brother both said that they first learned of James’ death when reporters called seeking the family’s reaction.

A masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaks next to man purported to be U.S. journalist James Foley at an unknown location.
The execution video was widely spread online.

Michael Foley said he found the video easily on the internet and watched his brother’s execution multiple times. 

Diane Foley could not believe it, hoping it was some kind of horrible joke.

She learned her son’s fate when then-President Barack Obama confirmed the beheading in a television address.

Elsheikh and terrorist pal Alexenda Kotey — another member of “The Beatles” — were captured together and brought to Virginia to face trial. Kotey pleaded guilty last year and received a life sentence, avoiding the death penalty.

This file photo combination of pictures created on February 11, 2018 from two handout images provided by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on February 10, 2018 shows captured British Islamic State (IS) group fighters El Shafee el-Sheikh (L) and Alexanda Kotey (R), posing for mugshots in an undisclosed location.
British Islamic State (IS) group fighters El Shafee el-Sheikh, left, and Alexanda Kotey, right, were brought to Virginia to face trial for the murder.
Syrian Democratic Forces/AFP via

A third Beatle, Mohammed Emwazi, served as executioner in the video of Foley’s execution. He was killed in a drone strike.

Elsheikh’s defense attorneys claim there is insufficient evidence to prove he was a member of the group that took part in the hostage-taking scheme. Prosecutors plan to present evidence that Elsheikh confessed to his role in interviews with authorities and the media.

With Post Wires

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