ROCHESTER, N.H. — The family of a journalist beheaded by an Islamic State group fighter known as Jihadi John said Friday that a U.S. drone strike targeting the extremist provides little comfort.
Diane and John Foley, of Rochester, the parents of James Foley, said the U.S. should put more effort into finding and rescuing hostages.
"It is a very small solace to learn that Jihadi John may have been killed by the U.S. government," the statement said. "His death does not bring Jim back. If only so much effort had been given to finding and rescuing Jim and the other hostages who were subsequently murdered by ISIS, they might be alive today."
James Foley was abducted in Syria on Thanksgiving in 2012 and hadn't been seen until a video showing his killing was posted on the Internet in August 2014.
Jihadi John, whose real name is Mohammed Emzawi, was targeted overnight by a U.S. drone strike in Syria, and U.S. officials said Friday they were "reasonably certain" he was killed.
After Foley's death, the family launched the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation to advocate for the release of Americans kidnapped abroad, help in protecting freelance journalists in conflict zones and assistance in providing underprivileged children with access to education.
"Our focus is on Jim's life and all the good that he did in the world," the Foleys said. "We remain humble and proud of his unwavering commitment to give voice to the voiceless as a journalist, a teacher and a friend."
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said the drone strike shows the administration is committed to finding those who killed Foley, Steven Sotloff and other hostages. Sotloff went to school in New Hampshire.
"Today we have reason to believe that their executioner finally got the justice he deserved," Shaheen said in a statement. "'Jihadi John' has been the voice and the face of ISIS's depraved ideology, and his death would send the strong message that these barbaric acts will not go unanswered."
And U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte said the killings of Foley and other American hostages "underscored the truly evil nature of the terrorists we confront."
"James was an innocent civilian who was bravely performing his job as a journalist, and his extraordinary courage and dedication will not be forgotten," she said.