James Foley's parents laud their 'fearless' son
AFP August 22, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
WASHINGTON--Friends, relatives and colleagues have paid tribute to American journalist James Foley, executed by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, with his parents praising their "fearless" son.
Condolences and shocked messages poured in after the Islamist group released a video of Foley's beheading late Tuesday.
"We're very proud of him. He was a courageous, fearless journalist, a very compassionate American. He was just a hero," Foley's mother Diane told reporters outside their New Hampshire home.
"It haunts me, how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is as opposed to so many others," said his father John. "We believe he was a martyr, a martyr for freedom."
French journalists Didier Francois and Nicolas Henin, who were released by Syrian jihadists earlier this year, revealed on Wednesday they had been held alongside Foley.
"He was an extraordinary guy, an extremely nice companion in detention, very solid," said Francois of Europe 1 radio, who was held with Foley from October 2013 until his release in April.
"This was someone who never fully submitted to the kidnappers. He was always thinking of others during the whole detention, notably asking for food for everyone."
On Twitter, fellow journalists implored users not to view the graphic video of the execution, instead sharing images of Foley in the field.
Dick Costolo, Twitter's CEO, wrote: "We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery."
It was "increasingly likely" that a British jihadist had carried out the killing, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, adding that "far too many" Britons had traveled to the region to take part in extremism.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed its deep shock at "the appalling beheading."
"This horrifying and cowardly killing of an unarmed man is another call for action to protect journalists and civilians who are brutally targeted by armed groups and terrorists," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. The IFJ said Syria remains the world's most dangerous country for journalists, with over sixty killed.
The jihadists' video recalled the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl by al-Qaida militants in Pakistan in 2002.
"Our hearts go out to the family of journalist James Foley. We know the horror they are going through," said Pearl's mother Ruth, according to a tweet from the Daniel Pearl Foundation.
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