Representatives from the Islamic State, the group commonly referred to as ISIS, have reportedly contacted the family of slain journalist James Foley and offered to sell his body to them.
BuzzFeed reports three middlemen with connections to the militant Islamic group have confirmed ISIS wants to sell Foley’s remains to his family for $1 million. Representatives from the group have reportedly offered to provide a DNA sample to confirm the identity of the body.
“They ask for $1 million, and they will send DNA to Turkey, but they want the money first,” one source told BuzzFeed. “They will not give the DNA without the money.”
All three sources provided nearly the same details for the proposed transaction.
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ISIS militants beheaded Foley in August in a gruesome video. He was the first of a series of high-profile executions of Western hostages at the hands of ISIS.
One intermediary, connected to the grisly proposal, said he feared the U.S. government would seek to shut down the transaction if they found out about it.
“It will be like a shame for the U.S. government,” the contact said. “People will ask why you brought the body but you didn’t bring him when he was alive.”
The U.S. has a longstanding policy of not negotiating with terrorists or paying for hostages.
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Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, told ABC News in September that government officials approached her family, while her son was still alive and being held hostage, to tell them the family could face prosecution if they sought to negotiate directly with her son’s captors.
“I was surprised there was so little compassion,” Diane Foley said. “It just made me realize that these people talking to us had no idea what it was like to be the family of someone abducted… I’m sure [the U.S. official] didn’t mean it the way he said it, but we were between a rock and a hard place. We were told we could do nothing… meanwhile our son was being beaten and tortured every day.”
Diane Foley said officials contacted the family three times, telling them to trust that the government was handling the situation properly.
One attempt to rescue Foley failed when commandos raided a location after the hostages had already been moved elsewhere.
The Foley family declined to comment on the proposal to pay money for their son’s body.
An official from the U.S. State Department told BuzzFeed the department was “seeking more information.” A senior U.S. diplomat reportedly called the proposal “disgusting.”