August 26, 2014 3:00 pm
Updated: August 27, 2014 1:57 pm

Warning letter Islamic State sent to James Foley’s parents published

American journalist James Foley is seen November 2012 file photo, while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria.

AP Photo/ Nicole Tung

The Islamic State (IS) warned the family of James Foley of plans to kill the 40-year-old freelance journalist one week before posting a video of his beheading online.

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Foley’s employer, GlobalPost, published the text of a letter John and Diane Foley received Aug. 12, clearly stating that their son would be killed in retaliation for the U.S. airstrikes on IS targets in Iraq.

READ MORE: Parents of James Foley share letter of memories dictated by slain journalist

“You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings! The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!” the letter, which was addressed to “the American government and their sheep like citizens,” read.

“He will be executed as a DIRECT result of your transgressions towards us!”

READ MORE: Is James Foley’s killer a British rapper-turned-jihadist?

IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria or ISIS, had held Foley captive since November 2012. The militant organization, a disavowed offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has not only taken over swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria but has also been accused of carrying out massacres akin to crimes against humanity.

The U.S. authorized an aerial campaign against the Islamic State in northern Iraq on Aug. 7, following months of violent assaults on Iraqi cities and the forced exile of at least 50,000 Yazidi Christian Iraqis in the Sinjar mountains, stranding them without food and water under threat of forced conversion to Islam or death.

“Now you return to bomb the Muslims of Iraq once again, this time resorting to Arial (sic) attacks and ‘proxy armies’, all the while cowardly shying away from a face-to-face confrontation,” the letter stated.

The Islamic State demanded approximately US $132 million to release Foley, which the United States refused to pay under its policy not to pay ransoms to terrorist groups.

U.S. special forces launched a secret mission to attempt a rescue of Foley and other captives.

Other governments are believed to have paid ransoms to secure the release of their citizens — which the Islamic State referenced in the letter.

“You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted, We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi [Aafia Siddiqui], however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.”

Siddiqui is a neuroscientist who was found guilty in 2010 of attempting to murder U.S. nationals in Afghanistan. She was sentenced to 86 years in prison.

Foley’s parents planned to raise what money they could to pay off the militant group, aiming for a significantly lower sum similar to the amount European governments are believed to have paid for hostages.

GlobalPost undertook its own efforts to rescue Foley, including spending millions of dollars to investigate his whereabouts and hire a private security firm to help rescue him, according to the Telegraph.

Foley was kidnapped in 2011 while covering the uprising in Libya for GlobalPost and held captive by forces loyal to the Libyan government for 44 days.

READ MORE: Why ransoms are big business for terrorists and why the U.S. won’t pay

IS is still holding another American journalist hostage — Steven Sotloff, who appeared in the same video in which Foley was beheaded. IS warned it may execute Sotloff if the aerial campaign against its militants and strongholds continues. Sotloff was taken captive one year ago.

The extremist group is also holding an unidentified U.S. humanitarian worker hostage and is demanding US $6.6 million in ransom, according to ABC News.

ABC reported she is one of three or four U.S. nationals, including Sotloff, currently being held captive by IS.

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