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Foley's captors earlier asked for huge ransom: reports

August 21, 2014 19:27 IST

Islamist militants earlier asked a ransom of over USD 132 million from US journalist James Foley's family and employer but made no demands in their last message before brutally beheading him on camera, according to media reports.

Philip Balboni, the president and chief executive of GlobalPost for whom Foley was freelancing, told the The Wall Street Journal that the sum was demanded from both the journalist's family and the GlobalPost.

Balboni declined to discuss their reply to the demand, saying all communication was shared with appropriate government authorities, the report said.

The captors of Foley originally demanded a ransom of USD 132.5 million, Balboni said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq, published a video Tuesday showing the beheading of Foley, a 40-year-old originally from New Hampshire.

A militant who appears in the video links the killing to the US intervention in Iraq against ISIS, which refers to itself as the Islamic State.

He says the fate of another American journalist shown in the footage, believed to be Steven Sotloff, depends on what US President Barack Obama does next.

But the threat has done little to curb US military operations in Iraq, with American warplanes continuing airstrikes against ISIS targets.

Calling ISIS a "cancer," Obama said on Wednesday that the United States "will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and civility."

US officials have also revealed that they had tried to rescue Foley and other captives in a special military operation in Syria earlier this summer. But the special forces failed to find the hostages.

Foley, a freelance journalist, was on assignment when he disappeared on November 22, 2012, in northwest Syria, near the border with Turkey.

"The captors never messaged a lot. There was a very limited number with a very specific purpose...They made demands," Balboni was quoted as saying by CNN. Some messages were political and some were financial.

Then last week, his family received an e-mail saying he would be killed. No demands were made in the message.

"The message was vitriolic and filled with rage against the United States. It was deadly serious," Balboni said.

"Obviously, we hoped and prayed that would not be the case...Sadly, they showed no mercy."

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