WASHINGTON (TBO.com) — A grisly video released Tuesday shows Islamic State militants beheading American journalist James Foley, U.S. officials said, in what the extremists called retribution for recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

The militants threatened to kill another captive they also identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff, a former student at the University of Central Florida.

Foley’s family confirmed his death in a statement posted on a Facebook page that was created to rally support for his release, saying they “have never been prouder of him.”

“He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” said the statement, which was attributed to Foley’s mother, Diane Foley. She implored the militants to spare the lives of other hostages. “Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.”

The statement was posted on a Facebook page called “Find James Foley,” which his family has used a number of times since his November 2012 disappearance. Earlier Tuesday, a red-eyed but gracious Diane Foley said the family would not have an immediate statement when approached at her home by an Associated Press reporter. A priest arrived at the home several hours later.

Foley, a 40-year-old journalist from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.

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