MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - Militants of the Islamic State (IS) group pressed the United States for a $100 million ransom for the release of US journalist James Foley, whose execution was later taped and video was released on the Internet, The New York Times reported, citing a representative of Foley’s family.
“Before Mr. Foley was killed, his ISIS [IS] captors asked for a $100 million ransom, according to a representative of the family and a man held alongside Mr. Foley,” The New York Times reported.
According to the newspaper, Washington refused to pay and once the United States approved airstrikes in Iraq earlier this month, IS members “forced Mr. Foley to wear the telltale orange jumpsuit, and beheaded him on camera – a horrifying ode to the ‘Sheikh of the Slaughterers,’ who himself was killed by United States forces in Iraq in 2006.”
On Tuesday, IS released a video showing a masked man beheading Foley, who was taken prisoner in northwest Syria in November 2012. The video was posted on YouTube. The journalist’s executioner said in the video that Foley was killed because US President Barack Obama had ordered airstrikes against IS positions in northern Iraq. The IS also claimed to be holding another US journalist, Steven Sotloff, who appears at the end of the video, and said his life depended on Obama’s next move.
The abduction of foreigners and demanding ransoms for their release has become a business in the Middle East. According to The New York Times, “Kidnapping Europeans has become the main source of revenue for al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which have earned at least $125 million in ransom payments in the past five years alone.”
The Islamic State is a radical Sunni group that has been active in Syria, but started launching attacks in northern and western Iraq in June.
Later that month, the radicals announced that they established a caliphate on the territory they control. In August, after Iraq asked the international community for help, the United States started launching air strikes against IS positions in the north of the country.