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'He was an extraordinary son': James Foley's mother Diane pays tribute

James Foley.

The heartbroken mother of US journalist James Foley says she has never been prouder of her "extraordinary son" who, she said, died trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.
Diane Foley also pleaded with the militants responsible for her 40-year-old son's apparent beheading to spare the lives of other "innocent" hostages.

"We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person," Mrs Foley said. Advertisement US authorities have not yet publicly verified the legitimacy of a video, titled A Message To America, which Islamic State insurgents posted online on Tuesday, US time.The video purportedly showed the beheading of Foley and images of another US journalist, Steven Sotloff, whose life the insurgents said depended on how the United States acted in Iraq.

But on a Facebook page set up following Foley's abduction in northern Syria on November 22, 2012, Mrs Foley accepted that her son had died."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," she wrote."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.

Foley was on assignment in Syria for GlobalPost.

She also asked for privacy as her family mourned and cherished Foley.
On her Twitter account, Foley's sister, Kelly, urged people not to watch or share the video of her brother's death, and also paid tribute to her brother.Foley was a former teacher who graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2008.A freelance journalist, he was on assignment in Syria for GlobalPost, a Boston-based news organisation, when he was kidnapped by a group of armed men near the Syrian town of Taftanaz in 2012.Foley's last article for the news organisation outlined the growing frustration with war among the citizens of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, which he reported had been torn apart."The 1000-year-old market has been gutted, and the rebel-controlled west lies in ruin," Foley wrote in the article, published a month before his abduction."Last week's massive suicide car bombings, which levelled blocks of the government centre, left craters some 10 feet deep."
His kidnapping was not the first time he had been detained while reporting on an international crisis.
In 2011, he was taken while covering the uprising against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s forces released him after six weeks in captivity.Foley later returned to Libya to cover Gaddafi’s fall and eventual death.Just two weeks after he was released in Libya, Foley returned to Northwestern University to speak to students about reporting from conflict zones.He said at the time that he believed it was essential to get close to conflict to "understand the world"."Feeling like you've survived something, you know, it's a strange sort of force that you are drawn back to. I think that's the absolute reality," he said during the speech, which has been posted on YouTube.Sotloff, who appeared at the end of the video posted on Tuesday, went missing in northern Syria while reporting in July 2013. He has written for Time magazine, among other news organisations.


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