Executed US reporter was with Anton Hammerl in Libya

Cape Town - US journalist James Foley, who was apparently beheaded by Islamic State militants, was with SA photographer Anton Hammerl when he was killed in Libya in 2011, and said he would "regret that day for the rest of my life".

According to AFP, US officials said they believe a video posted online showed Foley being executed. His family confirmed his death on a webpage created to garner support for him after he was captured in Syria nearly two years ago.

Foley had worked in a number of conflict zones and the danger did not stop him from doing what he loved, AFP reported. He was captured and held for six weeks while covering the uprising in Libya in 2011.


During that time, he saw his colleague, South African photographer Anton Hammerl, being killed by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Foley said in an interview afterwards that he tried to pull Hammerl's body out of harm's way, but was turned back by heavy fire.

"I'll regret that day for the rest of my life. I'll regret what happened to Anton. I will constantly analyse that," Foley was quoted as saying.

Another journalist who was captured with Foley and Hammerl in Libya, Clare Morgana Gillis, wrote in a blog that she helped Foley put together an auction at Christie's to support Hammerl's children. Foley befriended his widow and asked "How can we help?"

Foley said in 2011: "When Anton was with us he spoke with such deep love for his children. We feel unable to rest without being able to try and help his children in some way."

According to the Cape Argus, Hammerl's widow, Penny, paid tribute to Foley on her Facebook page, and offered condolences to his family.