James Foley’s parents have admitted that they’ve watched the execution video that saw their son beheaded by Islamic State militants.
A video showing the death of Foley, who worked as a U.S. journalist, was uploaded to the world wide web earlier this week. It showed Foley kneeling in the desert and then issuing a statement that condemned the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS before he was then beheaded by a man wearing all black and speaking in a British accent.
John Foley, James’ father, has now told the New York Daily News that despite the fact he and his wife, Diane, had originally planned on not watching the distressing clip, they finally decided to do so because they “just needed to know.”
Speaking outside his New Hampshire home, John Foley told the press, “We just needed to know. We believe he’s free. He’s with his God. The joy has been being Jimmy’s parents, the pain is in his death.”
Just before James was executed, Foley’s parents were given hope that their son might actually be returned safely to the USA. The pair had received a $132 million ransom from ISIS that suggested the Islamic State were interested in negotiating their son’s release. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
John explained, “I actually was excited to see an email despite the conclusion that they would execute Jim. I actually hoped we could engage in negotiations with them if they were willing to send any sort of communication because we had none prior. I did not realize how brutal they were.”
Over the weekend, John and Dianne Foley discussed the last time that they heard from ISIS regarding James, before they then went on to reveal the heartache that they felt as they anxiously waited to hear about his fate.
“The last time we hear from them was in December,” John discussed. “We had received several emails but then they stopped communicating. So then we were just anxiously waiting. We had established a special email, hoping to engage them.”
They also talked about why James wanted to return to the area even though doing so put his life in danger:
“We found it difficult to understand as parents. He was home in October of 2012 for his birthday and he just looked so good and I said ‘Jim, just stay home till Christmas.’And he says, ‘Oh, ma, I have to go back, but I will be home for Christmas.’ He was just so committed to the problems… he wanted to humanize the problems, particularly the children. He raised money for an ambulance as people were being taken to the hospital in a wheelbarrow. The more he saw of the suffering, the more his heart seemed to grow.”