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James Foley's family asks kidnappers to spare hostages after video of alleged beheading

Diane Foley says the family has “never been prouder of our son Jim”.

File photo dated 27 May 2011 of journalist James Foley.
File photo dated 27 May 2011 of journalist James Foley.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE FAMILY OF an American journalist whom the Islamic State claims to have executed has released a statement calling for the lives of remaining hostages to be spared.

A video which surfaced online yesterday purported to show the Jihadist group executing Foley in retaliation for US air strikes on IS positions in northern Iraq.

The group also claims to be holding a second US journalist, Steven  Scotloff, who disappeared in Syria a year ago.

Foley’s mother Diane Foley issued a statement earlier today via the Free James Foley Facebook page:

We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.

Foley had previously covered the conflict in Libya and contributed to GlobalPost, AFP and other media outlets. He was seized in northern Syria on 22 November, 2012.

“On behalf of John and Diane Foley, and also GlobalPost, we deeply appreciate all of the messages of sympathy and support that have poured in since the news of Jim’s possible execution first broke,” said GlobalPost co-founder and CEO Philip Balboni.

GlobalPost also notes that the FBI is currently examining the video and that it has not been verified or confirmed as authentic.

AFP chairman Emmanuel Hoog said: “James was working as a brave, independent and impartial journalist covering the dangerous Syrian conflict when he was kidnapped in November 2012.”

“His work for AFP and other media organisations was widely admired. Nothing could justify his incarceration or any threats against his life. Our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.”

#ISISmediaBlackout

The alleged execution video prompted a social media backlash against the Jihadist group, with calls for a media blackout of messages from IS to deny them publicity and attention.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the social media company is suspending accounts which share graphic images:

Other Twitter users questioned the value of a blackout on reporting about Islamic State fighters:

- Additional reporting by © AFP, 2014

Read: Islamic State releases video claiming to show beheading of US journalist James Foley >

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