MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) - American journalist James Foley’s boss and friends contradict claims that he was killed by Islamic State (IS) militants a year ago, The Telegraph reported Tuesday.
“This is totally false and contradicted by a very significant body of incontrovertible evidence… We have multiple eyewitness accounts from hostages held with Jim as recently as last month. It’s a disgrace that this was ever broadcast or published,” The Telegraph quoted Foley’s boss, Phil Balboni of GlobalPost as saying.
Earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s official spokesperson, Bouthaina Shaaban argued she had evidence provided by the UN that Foley was killed a year ago.
“James Foley was first arrested by the Free Syrian Army and he was sold to ISIS [an earlier name for the IS]. You can check with the UN…James Foley was killed a year ago, not now, they only released the pictures now, but he was killed a year ago. We have definite information, the UN has the information,” Shaaban said as cited by The Daily Mail.
Foley’s family released the script of a message he sent them in June. However, the family stated that Foley was unable to send a written message, as all his letters were confiscated, so he asked a fellow hostage to memorize a message he wished to convey to his relatives.
Another fact contradicting the claim Foley died a year ago was the eyewitness account of Daniel Rye Ottosen, who spent 13 months in captivity with Foley and was released in June.
Last week, the shocking video of Foley being beheaded by the jihadist group was broadcasted all around the world. The jarring footage was entitled “The Message to America.” The journalist’s executioner, who spoke with a British accent, said Foley was killed because US President Barack Obama had ordered airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq.
A team of experts concluded that the video was edited and suggested that the actual murder happened off-camera, thus raising even more questions about when exactly the execution happened.
According to UK security services, the main suspect in Foley’s murder is west London rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, also known by the IS militants as “Jihadi John.”
About 500 Britons are believed to be fighting for the IS in Syria, as well as several hundred individuals from the United States and Canada.
IS, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), an al-Qaeda offshoot, was fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and in June launched a large-scale offensive in Iraq, seizing large parts of the country.
In June, the group declared itself a “caliphate,” changed its name to the Islamic State and claimed religious authority over all Muslims globally.