After failing to ransom several U.S. and British hostages, ISIS is trying a disgusting new money-making scheme. Three sources tell BuzzFeed that the terrorist group is trying to secure $1 million for the remains of James Foley, the American journalist it beheaded in August. The middlemen say ISIS wants them to reach out to the U.S. government or Foley’s family, and they’re willing to provide a DNA sample. “They ask for $1 million, and they will send DNA to Turkey, but they want the money first,” said a former Syrian rebel fighter with ties to ISIS. “They will not give the DNA without the money.”
Ransoming hostages can be a huge source of revenue for ISIS. Al Qaeda and its affiliates have raised $125 million in ransom payments in the last five years, according to the New York Times. Fifteen European hostages were released after their governments reportedly paid off ISIS, but the U.S. and Britain refuse to pay ransoms. Since Foley’s death, ISIS has released videotape executions of American journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig.
A senior official in the Free Syrian Army who would be involved in negotiations worried that the effort would fall apart if it was made public, while simultaneously articulating why it makes no sense. “It will be like a shame for the U.S. government,” he said. “People will ask why you brought the body but you didn’t bring him when he was alive.”