UK & World News

  • 21 August 2014, 1:43

James Foley's Parents: 'We Know He's In Heaven'

The father of James Foley has said that he knows his son who was beheaded by militants "is in heaven", in an emotional tribute.

John Foley was speaking with his wife Diane and James's brother hours after a video emerged of an Islamic State (IS) militant murdering their son.

As he did so, US President Barack Obama said that the US would continue to do what was necessary to protect its people.

With his voice cracking up and standing next to his wife Diane at their home in Rochester, New Hampshire, John Foley said: "It's difficult to find solace at this point in time, but Jim is free. We know he's in God's hands and ... we know he's in heaven.

"We're so proud of him. We have to be happy for him. We need the courage and the prayers to continue without him, because he was an inspiration for us and for so many others.

"We miss his courage and his love and his determination. His laugh. His smile."

During the gruesome video of Mr Foley's death, Islamic State also threatened to kill another US journalist, Steven Sotloff, who they claim to be holding.

James Foley's younger brother Michael criticised the US government, saying he thought it could have done more to save Mr Foley.

He said, as a result, it needed to do more to free Mr Sotloff.

The propaganda video posted on social media sites by sources belonging to IS shows a masked man - speaking in English with an English accent - beheading the 40-year-old.

The killer says that Mr Foley was being beheaded because Barack Obama had ordered airstrikes against IS positions in northern Iraq.

Just before he was murdered, Mr Foley had the chance to make a statement, during which he said: "I wish I had more time, I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed." 

Speaking from Martha's Harbour, Massachusetts, where he has been on holiday, Mr Obama said: "Today the American people will all say a prayer for those who loved Jim.

"Jim was taken from us in an act that shocks the conscience of the entire world.

"Jim Foley's life stands in stark contrast to his killers."

"No faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day. (Islamic State) has no ideology of any value to human beings.

"The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what is necessary to see that justice is done."

US officials told the Associated Press that military planners are considering whether to send up to 300 more ground troops to Iraq, mainly to provide additional security around Baghdad.

US aircraft carried out 14 air strikes on Islamic State militant targets in Iraq in the past 24 hours, officials said on Wednesday. It brought the total number of air raids since August 8 to 84.

Republican Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain said America should dramatically increase the number of airstrikes and some should extend into Syria as a result of Mr Foley's murder.

Marie Harf, the White House spokesperson, said that the US administration agreed with British Prime Minister David Cameron that " it is increasingly likely that it is a British citizen" who murdered James Foley.

She added that US officials were working closely with British official to identify his killer.

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