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ISIS militants holding James Foley captive asked for a ransom of $100m

Foley’s family were in e-mail contact with those holding him.

ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS demanded a ransom of up to $100m for the slain US journalist James Foley according to his family.

The request was made in late 2013 during e-mail exchanges between Foley’s family and his captors about a possible ransom.

Global Post, the online news site that Foley worked for, have also confirmed that a ransom was sought but did not provide details of a specific figure.

The Boston-based site are understood to have also spent significant amount of money as part of their own attempts to locate Foley who was captured in Syria in November 2012.

Foley’s family were informed on 13 August that their son  was going to be executed in retaliation for US air-strikes against Islamic State forces. They then passed the message onto the Federal Bureau of Investigation who handle cases of kidnapped US citizens.

Less than a week later, the world was horrified by the video posted online of his brutal execution.

For a long time, the United States and Britain have refused to allow any money to change hands in hostage situations. Other European countries, including France, have paid, although this is officially denied.

Special forces

It has also been revealed that US special forces were sent into Syria this year to try to rescue American hostages, with Foley believed to be among them.

“This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL (IS),” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement, without confirming if Foley was among the captives.”Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location.”

British authorities are now attempting to hunt down the identity of the Islamic State fighter known only as ‘John’ who executed Foley.

In the video of the execution, the militant speaks with a strong British accent and threatens to kill another kidnapped journalist Steven Sotloff  who also appears in the video.

Journalist Slain John and Diane Foley talk to reporters after speaking with U.S. President Barack Obama. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Britain’s former  anti-terrorism chief said today that the suspected British killer will be found and brought to justice “sooner or later”

Richard Barrett, former head of counter-terrorism at foreign intelligence service MI6, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that those who knew the suspect would be so appalled by the grisly online video of the killing that they would contact police.

“Ultimately they’ll be able to identify him,” he said. “He will have had many friends and acquaintances and family in the UK, and those people will wish to see him brought to justice.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who broke off his holidays for emergency meetings on the threat posed by IS, called the murder “brutal and barbaric” and said it was “increasingly likely” that the killer was a UK citizen.

Barrett insisted that links between the authorities and the “vulnerable” communities in which it is presumed the suspect lived before heading to Syria to fight with the IS militants were now “very much stronger.”

“Nobody is now in any doubt about what it means to go over to Syria or Iraq and join… the IS, so they’re very concerned about any members of their community who might do that,” he told the BBC.

“So long as they have confidence that by talking to the police they won’t bring down all sorts of additional problems to themselves, I think they’re ready to do so and I think increasingly they feel they should do so.”

 ’A bit of theatre’ 

Even when the suspect is identified, the former intelligence official warned it could take a long time before he was brought to justice due to the unrest in Syria, where he is assumed to be.

But given the scale of the crime, and the fact the suspect is assumed to be relatively young, Barrett predicted the attacker would be vulnerable to arrest “sooner or later”.

The terror expert called the video “a bit of theatre” designed to strike fear in the hearts of Western civilians, which would, as a result, intensify calls for the United States and its partners to take action against the IS.

“Any sense that you are drawing back could be used by the IS to say ‘we’ve scared you off by doing this’ and that’s not a good message to send all the many millions of people in Iraq and Syria who are suffering far more directly than the people in the West,” he warned.

IS, also known as ISIL, has overrun large swaths of Iraq and Syria, claiming to represent the aspirations of a global Islamic caliphate.

Additional reporting by © – AFP 2014 

Read: US sent mission to try and rescue James Foley >

Read: Video of journalist James Foley being beheaded is authentic, says White House >

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Rónán Duffy

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