Family of al-Baghdadi Victim James Foley Responds to His Death Following Special Forces Raid

October 28, 2019 Updated: October 28, 2019

The mother of journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men, has thanked President Donald Trump and U.S. forces for their efforts that lead to the suicide of the former ISIS leader.

Diane Foley shared a touching statement to the president via the James Foley foundation, which advocates for the freedom of all U.S. hostages abroad and promotes the safety of journalists worldwide.

Foley said she was “grateful” for the recent death of al-Baghdadi and hoped his death by suicide vest once trapped by U.S. forces would prevent further terror groups from rising.

She wrote: “I am grateful to our President and brave troops for finding ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi. I hope this will hinder the resurgence of terror groups and pray that captured ISIS fighters will be brought to trial and held accountable.”

Foley expressed her concerns over U.S. hostages who remained captive in Syria, encouraging the president to make their safe return home a top priority.

She continued: “I remain concerned about the dozen Americans held hostage in Syria, including Austin Tice and Majd Kamalmaz. And I ask President Trump to make them, and all American hostages, a priority.”

James Foley was 40-years-old and working as a freelance journalist when he was kidnapped in Northern Syria on Nov. 22, 2012.

James Foley
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website, shows missing journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. American freelance journalist Foley disappeared in November 2012. Behind a veil of secrecy, at least 30 journalists have been kidnapped or have disappeared in Syria—held and threatened with death by extremists or taken captive by gangs seeking ransom. (AP Photo/Nicole Tung,, File)

He was beheaded by ISIS extremists on Aug. 19, 2014, in the Raqqa region of Syria and a graphic video of his death was later released online.

Trump mentioned Foley several times during his press conference at the White House on Oct. 27, in which he revealed the details of the successful raid against al-Baghdadi overnight.

He said that al-Baghdadi and his men had “no idea what they were getting into” and that many of them had been terrified when they were captured by U.S. forces on Oct. 26.

Trump said: “In some cases, they were very frightened puppies. In other cases, they were hard core killers. But they killed many, many people. Their murder of innocent Americans, James Foley, Steven, Peter and Kayla Mueller, were especially heinous.”

The president said that capturing or killing al-Baghdadi had been a top national security priority under his administration and added that the former leader had died “like a coward.”

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the extremist group ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has made what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video. (Social Media Website via Reuters TV/File Photo)

During his speech, Trump noted that no U.S. personnel died in the dangerous nighttime raid carried out by U.S. Special Operations forces in northwestern Syria.

However, a large number of al-Baghdadi’s fighters had been killed alongside their leader. Others surrendered.

Al-Baghdadi died “whimpering, crying and screaming” before committing suicide, the president said.

The former leader had fled with three children but found himself in a closed-ended tunnel where he detonated an explosive vest he was wearing, killing himself and the children.

Trump later said that he will be speaking with Foley’s family, as well as the families of the other American victims who have been killed by ISIS.

The death of al-Baghdadi comes just one month after the Trump administration announced the killing of Hamza Bin Laden, the son of Osama Bin Laden.

Earlier this year in March, the ISIS “caliphate,” or state, was destroyed.