WASHINGTON (AP/ABC News) - Journalist James Foley was captured once covering the uprising in Libya so he knew the risks when he went to Syria in 2012 to cover the escalating violence there. It didn't matter. He was a journalist at heart, once saying he'd cover local news if it meant doing the job he loved.
The 40-year-old from Rochester, New Hampshire, was snatched again in Syria in November 2012.
Two U.S. officials said they believed he was the person executed in a beheading by Islamic State militants in a video released Tuesday.
Foley's family has confirmed his death on a webpage created to rally support for him. His mother says he "gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people."
"We are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
The release of the video apparently showing his death comes amid a U.S. airstrike campaign against Islamic State targets in Iraq. The group has declared an Islamic state in the territory it controls in Iraq and neighboring Syria, imposing its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
In the video a man who appears to be Foley, dressed in orange, kneels beside an armed man clad in black. Foley delivers a statement condemning U.S. action in Iraq and says that the U.S. government is his “real killers.”
“For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” Foley says in halting speech. “I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope of freedom of seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed. I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”
Seconds later, the figure dressed in black brandishes a knife and identifies himself as with the Islamic State, the name the brutal terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took on after its leader declared himself the leader of all Muslims.
“Today your military air force has attacked us daily… Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims,” the figure in black says. He then addresses President Obama directly, saying “any attempt… to deny the Muslims their right to live in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
Foley is then killed. The video continues, showing American Steven Sotloff, who has written for national publications like Time magazine, also dressed in orange and on his knees.
“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the figure in black says.