Heading To Iraq: Baltimore Man Reacts To Death Of Slain Friend, James Foley

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New details are released about the rescue attempt for slain journalist James Foley. This, as one of his good friends, Baltimore’s own Matthew Van Dyke, reacts to his death.

Mary Bubala spoke with Van Dyke through Skype on Thursday.

Heavily armed Black Hawk helicopters dropped two dozen special ops forces in northern Syria.

They were hoping to rescue captured journalist James Foley.

“This operation, by the way, was a flawless operation. But the hostages were not there,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

That was two months ago. A video of his execution was released this week by ISIS.

It’s a crushing reality for one of Foley’s best friends–Baltimore native Van Dyke–who met Foley in Libya.

“It’s horrifying what ISIS did to him. He was held so long–nearly two years–and then this happens,” said Van Dyke, filmmaker.

Van Dyke knows he could have faced the same–being captured and detained in solitary confinement for six months in Libya–before being freed and returning home to Baltimore three years ago.

“Thank God for protecting me while in combat and while in prison,” Van Dyke said.

Van Dyke tells says he fears for another friend and captive–journalist Steven Sotloff. ISIS said he would be next if U.S. airstrikes continue in Iraq.

“If there is a ransom demand, I think the United States should pay the ransom demand,” he said. “Steven’s life is worth more than dollars.”

Van Dyke says ISIS’ rampage across Syria and Iraq is a result of the West’s failure to act sooner–something James Foley was showing the world before he was captured.

“He had a real passion for journalism, for what he did, and that’s what kept him going back despite the risks,” Van Dyke said. “He did things professionally. He did things with a lot of planning, a lot of caution, and he did a really good job at it. I never heard anybody say a bad thing about James Foley. Everyone liked him. It’s a truly horrible loss.”

Van Dyke is headed to Iraq in the next few weeks. He’s delivering aid to Christians forced to flee their homes because of ISIS.

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