BOSTON (CBS) – The CEO of the Boston-based online news organization James Foley was working for when he was captured said Wednesday that the Foley family had received an email from kidnappers last week saying they would execute Foley.
Phil Balboni, CEO of GlobalPost, said the email last Wednesday night from the Islamic extremist group was “full of rage against the United States for the bombing.”
A video released Tuesday by the group showed the beheading of Foley. The militants said it was done in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against them in northern Iraq.
Foley, 40, a New Hampshire native, was kidnapped while covering the Syrian conflict for GlobalPost and a French news agency. He was last seen on Thanksgiving Day in 2012.
“This is an extraordinarily sad day,” said Balboni. “His courage and commitment to tell the stories of war” will live on.
The CEO said his news organization had hired a security firm to search for Foley and in September 2013 they found out where he was being held in Syria with several other Western journalists.
Balboni said Foley’s captors had sent emails beginning last fall that included political and financial demands. The European journalists who were being held were released when ransom was paid.
The emails sent by the kidnappers last week made no demands and only threatened Foley’s execution.
“When you live with something every day for two years and you get a message like that it’s hard to describe your feelings,” said a somber Balboni. “You have to focus on taking action. I have a lot of feelings now.”
Balboni said the U.S. government was in a difficult situation. He said if it was a matter of money and he was allowed to give ransom he would have paid anything to bring Foley home safely.
Balboni said his thoughts are with the other Americans being held by the militant group known as the Islamic State, ISIS and ISIL. He said he hopes the government will do everything it can to free them.
MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON