By RIK STEVENS
ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Journalist James Foley,
captured and held six weeks while covering the uprising in Libya, knew
the risks when he went to Syria in 2012 to cover the escalating violence
there. It didn't matter. He was a journalist at heart, once saying he'd
cover local news if it meant doing the job he loved.
Foley was snatched again in Syria in
November 2012 when the car he was riding in was stopped by four
militants in a battle zone that Sunni rebel fighters and government
forces were trying to control.
Two U.S. officials said Tuesday they believe Foley
was the person executed by Islamic State militants in a video posted
online. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they
weren't authorized to discuss the video by name.
Foley's family confirmed his death on a webpage created to rally support for him. His mother, Diane Foley, said in a statement on the webpage he "gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people."
At Foley's family home in Rochester, a
light burned yellow in a center upstairs window and a yellow ribbon
adorned a tree at the foot of the driveway. The Rev. Paul Gousse, of Our
Lady of the Holy Rosary, where the Foleys are parishioners, spent about
45 minutes at the house but left without commenting.
Foley, 40, worked in a number of
conflict zones in the Middle East, including Syria, Libya and Iraq. He
and another journalist were working in the northern province of Idlib in
Syria when they were kidnapped near the village of Taftanaz.
After Foley disappeared, while
contributing video for Agence France-Presse and the media company
GlobalPost, his parents became fierce advocates for him and all those
kidnapped in war zones. They held regular prayer vigils and worked with
the U.S. and Syrian diplomatic corps to get whatever scraps of
information they could.
Diane Foley, asked in January 2013 if her son had reservations about going to Syria, said softly: "Not enough."
He had seen the dangers to journalists up close.
Upon his release from Libya and return to the United States, he
recalled in an interview with The Associated Press seeing a colleague,
South African photographer Anton Hammerl, killed by forces loyal to
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He tried to pull his friend's body out of
harm's way but was turned back by heavy fire.
"I'll regret that day for the rest of my life. I'll regret what happened to Anton," Foley said. "I will constantly analyze that."
Foley also covered the war in Afghanistan but called the Libyan fighting the worst he had ever experienced to that point.
Foley grew up in New Hampshire and
studied history at Marquette University. He later taught in Arizona,
Massachusetts and Chicago before switching careers to become a
journalist, which he viewed as a calling.
"Journalism is journalism," Foley
said. "If I had a choice to do Nashua (New Hampshire) zoning meetings or
give up journalism, I'll do it. I love writing and reporting."
Associated Press writers Lara Jakes and Julie Pace contributed to this report from Washington.