James Foley, journalist and Marquette University alum, beheaded by ISIS

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI/CNN) -- A video released by ISIS shows the beheading of U.S. journalist and Marquette University alum James Foley and threatens the life of another American if President Barack Obama doesn't end military operations in Iraq.

In the video posted Tuesday on YouTube, Foley is seen kneeling next to a man dressed in black. He reads a message, presumably scripted by his captors, that his "real killer'' is America.


"I wish I had more time. I wish I could have the hope for freedom to see my family once again," Foley can be heard saying in the video.

He is then shown being beheaded.

The National Security Council is aware of the video.

"The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available," NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.


Foley was held captive in 2011 while reporting on the civil war in Libya. He lived to tell about it. In fact, he returned to the Marquette University campus to speak about his experience.

Foley returned to the Middle East to cover an uprising in Syria. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, he disappeared near the border with Turkey. He was reportedly forced into a vehicle by gunmen; he was not heard from again.

Once again, Marquette held a vigil for the family; one his parent attended.

"This is so very different, last time, within three weeks, we knew he was alive, where he was, who had him, we knew he was well," said John Foley, James' father.

"Because this one is much longer with such little information, it's much more difficult," said Diane Foley, James' mother.

On Tuesday evening, the Facebook group set up to support Foley and his family, "Free James Foley," posted a statement from Diane Foley. It read as follows:

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.

Marquette University issued the following statement late Tuesday.

The Marquette community is deeply saddened by the death of alumnus and freelance journalist, James Foley, Arts ’96. We extend our heartfelt prayers and wishes for healing to James’ family and friends during this very difficult time.

James, who majored in history at Marquette, had a heart for social justice and used his immense talents to tell the difficult stories in the hopes that they might make a difference in the world – a measure of his character for which we could not be prouder.

Following his first capture in 2011, after he safely returned from Libya, James expressed in a letter to the Marquette community the power and strength he drew not only from his own prayer, but the prayers of his family and friends. As a community, we offer this prayer for peace.

The video also shows another American journalist. His life is said by the militants in the video to hang in the balance, depending on what Obama does next.

The journalist is believed to be Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped at the Syria-Turkey border in 2013. Sotloff is a contributor to Time and Foreign Policy magazines.

As a freelancer, Foley picked up work for a number of major media outlets, including Agence France-Presse and GlobalPost.

"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," Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder, said in a published statement.

"We have been informed that the FBI is in the process of evaluating the video posted by the Islamic State to determine if it is authentic. Until we have that determination, we will not be in a position to make any further statement. We ask for your prayers for Jim and his family."

Foley had previously been taken captive in Libya. He was detained there in April 2011 along with three other reporters and released six weeks later.

Afterward, he said that what saddened him most was knowing that he was causing his family to worry.

Foley grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2008. Like other young journalists who came of age after the September 11 terror attacks and American wars overseas, Foley was drawn to Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas of conflict.

Friends described Foley as fair, curious and impressively even-tempered.

"Everybody, everywhere, takes a liking to Jim as soon as they meet him," journalist Clare Morgana Gillis wrote in a blog post about him in May 2013, six months after he disappeared in Syria.

"Men like him for his good humor and tendency to address everyone as 'bro' or 'homie' or 'dude' after the first handshake. Women like him for his broad smile, broad shoulders, and because, well, women just like him."

Related stories:


  • Lisa

    I’m just as sad and disgusted as you and many others, but how dare you categorize a religion (not a race of people, which not only makes you an islamaphobic, but also racist for categorizing what I assume are Iraqis, “Arabs”, etc) as one that should be annihilated? These people that do commit acts of terror are not the majority of Muslims. If you actually educated yourself on Islam, it’s teachings, and it’s values you’d understand that the Qu’ran is COMPLETELY against the actions al Qaeda and ISIS and many other extremist groups perform/stand for. Do not speak of a religion that you know little about due to a preconceived notion that the media/public and you have created just because you are ignorant and uneducated and choose to stay as such. As for Jim Foley, I am so heartbroken by this and just by hearing about the way his life was abruptly and brutally ended is disturbing and sad. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

    • phil-f

      Lisa. If Islam is a religion of peace, and the majority of Muslims think this way, then why aren’t British Muslims out there protesting against these extremists? Why do they not root out fellow extremists the the authorities?

    • EducatedDC

      Hey Lisa, in which Sura and what verse do you see the Qur’an being “completely” against what ISIS is doing? Me thinks YOU are the one who is confused. Seriously, read the Qu’ran before claiming to know what it says. Sheesh

  • Robyn Koski

    My deepest prayers go to this very courageous young mans family. Very heart breaking to say the very least! The bravery he displayed at that moment took my breath. I didnt see it all. Thank God for saving all the pain of seeing it. I have no words. Simple so sad that our world has come to this sick display!

  • Trevor wessel

    No, actually if you educated yourself at all you’d know Islam IS NOT a peaceful religion. The extremists take it even farther such as Isis and al Qaeda. YES I am islamaphobic! They’re the ones who blew up the twin towers and continue to cause problems everywhere. I can’t believe you’d be so ignorant as to get onto Americans’ cases about no liking Muslims, THEY ARENT PEACEFUL. How about you read up on them before making a fool of yourself

  • google

    Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this site daily, this website is
    in fact good and the viewers are in fact sharing fastidious thoughts.

  • jasa desain interior

    What i do not understood is in reality how you are not actually much more
    smartly-liked than you may be right now. You’re very intelligent.

    You realize therefore considerably relating to this subject, produced me in my opinion consider it from a lot of various angles.
    Its like men and women are not interested except it is something to accomplish with Woman gaga!
    Your personal stuffs excellent. Always handle it up!

  • Judy Konos

    Republican nominee for the US Senate
    Allen Weh, a retired U.S. Marine Corps “Reserve Colonel” is defending an ad it released Monday that uses
    an image of the gruesome execution of James Foley, an American journalist.
    Supposedly this “Reserve Colonel” has not gone to war?
    Kind of like George Zimmerman was a “security” guard.

  • Aphex Twin Syro download

    Јust a moment,” I answered, dragging myself up on one elbow to open the curtains nea the bed. A good number of their friends even died in the Trouble’s for one reason or another. I think urologists, pediatricians,and other medical professionals should have some basic knowledge of the different types of diapers available to managbe bed-wetting and the advantages annd disadvantages of each.

  • baofeng amazon

    Aside through the styles of music and talk radio, there are a few popular hosts
    for anyone shows: Howard Stern, Joan Jett, Marky Ramone in the Ramones, and Eminem.
    The specialty of disc jockeys in night club is they must
    be in a position to download music which is trendy and then present in ways that gets the crowd grooving.
    Baofeng windows 8 Visitors may meet to market
    traditional Chinese medicine inside the scenic
    spot including fleece-flower root, mandarin duck son, etc.

    Tenzin: One thing the Dalai Lama says, which I
    think is actually beautiful, is always that in order to
    develop compassion for some individuals, you must have compassion for yourself.
    Baofeng morse code That’s why I put inside the front with the book that you
    will need to have two perspectives and see both points of view.
    Stations don’t play good jazz on the air, but they do on satellite radio.

Comments are closed.