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James Foley: More Chilling Information Revealed By Escaped Journalists

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By Athena Yenko | August 21, 2014 3:00 PM EST

James Foley experienced the worse treatment in the hands of the Islamists among other hostages, escaped journalists captive revealed.

Foley was whipped regularly, thus, becoming "the whipping boy of the jailers", escaped Frenchmen Nicolas Henin told French magazine, L'Express.

REUTERS/Social Media Website v
A masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaks next to man purported to be U.S. journalist James Foley at an unknown location in this still image from an undated video posted on a social media website. Islamic State insurgents released the video on August 19, 2014 purportedly showing the beheading of Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, and images of another U.S. journalist whose life they said depended on U.S. action in Iraq. The video, titled "A Message to America," was released a day after Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has overrun large parts of Iraq, threatened to attack Americans "in any place." U.S. officials said they were working to determine its authenticity.

Henin said that the brutal treatment given to Foley began after the militants found out that his brother was in the US Air Force.

Didier Francois, an experienced French war journalist, said that he was once held with Foley from August of 2013 until April 2014. He even shared a cell with Foley in October. He was released with three other French hostages in April.

Francois said that the man who killed Foley was the same man who took him.

Francois remembered Foley as an extraordinary person with a strong character. Foley was a comfortable companion as he remained strong and composed despite the pressure and violence of their kidnappers.

Francois said that after being released, he dared not spoke about Foley or Steven Sotloff because the Islamists threatened to kill the other hostages if he did.

Phil Balboni, chief executive of GlobalPost, said that Foley was kidnapped on November 22, 2012 during a US Thanksgiving holiday.

At first, they were confused as to what group took Foley. They thought of the Shabiha, militias loyal to the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Balboni said.

The first confirmed information about Foley came after a year of him missing. The information came from a surrendering European Islamic fighter who was with Foley in the city of Aleppo. At this time, the fighter said that Foley was alive but was passed from one captor to another a number of times.

Finally, in November of 2013, Foley's family received an email from the Islamists. The militants demanded for ransom and proof that he was still alive around this time.

However, negotiations did not last long, Balboni said.

The U.S. government has a policy against paying ransom in kidnapping cases but it did everything to negotiate for Foley's life, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

"Since his capture, we have been using every tool at our disposal to try to bring him home to his family and to gather any and all information we could get about his whereabouts, his condition and the threats he faced," Hayden said.

On the night of August 13, 2014, Foley's family received another message from his captors that he will be beheaded in revenge of US air strikes.

The family and friends of Foley hoped they were just bluffing, that they just wanted for a ransom to happen.

On Wednesday, the ISIS posts graphic video of Foley's beheading.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned that beheadings such as Foley's could happen in Australia.

In a press conference on Thursday, Mr Abbott said that ISIS' terrorism was truly sickening and utterly evil. He highlighted that as Foley's killer was speaking with a distinct British accent, this only means that terrorism may not be very far from Australia.

''As for the apparent truth that the murderer was a British citizen, it just goes to show that while these events are taking place far from our shores, they can have ramifications right around the world. It just goes to show that this is not just something that happens elsewhere, it could happen in countries like Australia if we relax our vigilance against terrorism and potential terrorism here on our shores," Mr Abbott told press.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Social Media Website v / )
A masked Islamic State militant holding a knife speaks next to man purported to be U.S. journalist James Foley at an unknown location in this still image from an undated video posted on a social media website. Islamic State insurgents released the video on August 19, 2014 purportedly showing the beheading of Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, and images of another U.S. journalist whose life they said depended on U.S. action in Iraq. The video, titled "A Message to America," was released a day after Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has overrun large parts of Iraq, threatened to attack Americans "in any place." U.S. officials said they were working to determine its authenticity.
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