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How the FBI Handled One of Its Toughest Hostage Cases

A 5-year-old boy's life hung in the balance

(Newser) - When Jimmy Lee Dykes told a bus driver shortly before shooting him to death that he himself would die at the end of the ordeal, Dykes was right. But first he kidnapped a 5-year-old boy from the bus and held him hostage for a week in an underground bunker on... More »

Unnamed American Hostage Still in Yemen

English teacher, 35, still in custody of Shiite Houthi rebels

(Newser) - Despite early reports that three US hostages were freed in Yemen yesterday, authorities now say just two have arrived in Oman, which negotiated their release. Shiite Houthi rebels chose to keep a third US hostage in custody; he's identified only as a 35-year-old Muslim convert who had been in... More »

Friend Reveals ID of US Hostage in Yemen

Scott Darden was taken by rebels while transporting humanitarian aid

(Newser) - The wife of a 45-year-old Atlanta man—one of three Americans being held hostage by Houthi rebels in Yemen—is pleading for his freedom. "We are asking for his safe return," Diana Loesch tells the Washington Post . "He loved the Yemeni people." The newspaper reports the... More »

Hostage Uses App to Order Pizza, 911 Help

'Get 911 to me,' she wrote in Pizza Hut order

(Newser) - A Florida woman helped save herself and her three children from a hostage situation on Monday with help from a pizza app. Cheryl Treadway told police she'd been arguing with her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, at their home in Highlands County when he took her cellphone and grabbed a knife.... More »

US to Back Off Threat to Hostage Families Who Pay Ransom

Won't face jail time; James Foley's mom says gov't 'trying to make it right'

(Newser) - In the wake of James Foley's murder in the Syrian desert, his grief-stricken mother very publicly berated the American government for not doing all it could to free him—and for threatening the Foleys "very clearly three times that it was illegal for us to try to ransom... More »

Hostage's Family Paid $250K Ransom, Got Nothing

Warren Weinstein's captors received money in 2012, say reports

(Newser) - It's one more wrenching detail in the death of American hostage Warren Weinstein, who was killed in error by a US drone strike. It turns out that his family paid his abductors $250,000 in 2012 for his release, to no avail, reports the Wall Street Journal and Foreign ... More »

When Taken, US Hostage Was About to Return Home

Warren Weinstein was abducted by al-Qaeda, eventually killed by US drone strike

(Newser) - Stories recounting the life of Warren Weinstein—the 73-year-old American accidentally killed by a US drone strike after nearly four years as an al-Qaeda hostage—tend to mention one detail up high: When the aid worker was abducted in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011, he was just days away from returning... More »

Dutch Hostage Free After Years in Mali

Sjaak Rijke was rescued by French special forces

(Newser) - A Dutchman who was held in captivity by Islamic militants for more than three years has left Mali and is headed back home, officials say. Sjaak Rijke, who was abducted from a hotel in Timbuktu, northern Mali, in November 2011, flew into Mali's capital Bamako yesterday after being rescued... More »

Hostage Prosecutor Dies After Istanbul Shootout

2 members of banned leftist group also killed

(Newser) - Two members of a banned leftist group and a prosecutor they held hostage inside a courthouse in Istanbul died yesterday after a shootout between the hostage takers and police, officials say. Istanbul's police chief says police negotiated with the gunmen for six hours before the violent end of the... More »

Kayla Mueller's Boyfriend: She Wouldn't Lie to Save Herself

Omar Alkhani said he was her husband, but Mueller didn't go for the story

(Newser) - Kayla Mueller's Syrian photographer boyfriend says he went back in 2013 to the detention cell in Syria where he had once been held with Mueller to plead for her release. For a few seconds, Omar Alkhani even saw her face when captors removed her covering to prove it was... More »

Obama: We Did Everything We Could to Get Kayla Mueller

But he draws the line at paying ransom; meanwhile, loved ones pay tribute

(Newser) - President Obama says his reaction to the death of ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller is "heartbreak"—but he thinks her "great spirit" will live on. "The more people learn about her, the more they appreciate what she stood for—and how it stands in contrast with the... More »

Kayla Mueller's Last Letter Released

'I will not give in no matter how long it takes'

(Newser) - Along with confirming the death of their only daughter today, Kayla Mueller's parents have released the last letter she wrote to them while in the hands of ISIS. It begins, "Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting... More »

ISIS Hostage Kayla Mueller Confirmed Dead

It's still unclear how she died

(Newser) - "We are heartbroken to share that we've received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life." That from the parents of the 26-year-old American, who was being held by ISIS in Syria. ISIS on Friday claimed Mueller was killed during airstrikes carried out by Jordan, when... More »

ISIS: US Hostage Died in Jordan Airstrikes

Group claims American woman died when Syrian building collapsed during bombing

(Newser) - An incensed Jordan has been making good on its word to dole out "earth-shaking revenge" against ISIS, conducting airstrikes on militant outposts in Syria since a video was released earlier this week showing pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive in a cage. Now ISIS is claiming that a... More »

Slain Journalist's Tweet Against Hate Makes Waves

Kenji Goto reflected on what he'd learned in Syria, Iraq

(Newser) - More than four years ago, journalist Kenji Goto tweeted a message whose power has only grown after he was apparently killed as an ISIS hostage. The tweet, the AP reports, has gone viral both in Japanese and in English. A translation of the Sept. 7, 2010 message: "Closing my... More »

New Video Says ISIS Hostages Have 24 Hours to Live

Voice claiming to be Kenji Goto calls for Iraqi prisoner's release

(Newser) - A new video message claiming to be from ISIS says that two hostages have 24 hours or less to live unless an Iraqi prisoner is released from Jordan, USA Today reports. The video, posted today, features a still image of hostage Kenji Goto , a Japanese journalist, as the voice of... More »

ISIS Video Says One Japanese Hostage Is Dead

It demands prisoner exchange for second one

(Newser) - ISIS has released a new video claiming that one of its two Japanese hostages has been executed, reports the Wall Street Journal . In the video, hostage Kenji Goto is seen holding a photo of what appears to be the decapitated head and body of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa. "You... More »

Japan to ISIS: We Won't Pay Ransom for Hostages

Country wants extremists to know its money isn't 'aimed at killing Muslims'

(Newser) - Japan says it's exercising every diplomatic channel in the wake of ISIS' video threat to kill two Japanese hostages, emphasizing that the funds it's contributing to the international effort against the group are "not aimed at killing Muslims … and that [ISIS] shouldn't harm the two... More »

ISIS Gives Japan 72 Hours to Pay $200M Ransom

Video shows two hostages in orange jumpsuits

(Newser) - In a video released online today, ISIS threatens to kill two Japanese hostages unless it receives a $200 million ransom in the next 72 hours. The video, posted on militant websites associated with the extremist group, mirrors other hostage threats it has made. The militant in it also directly addresses... More »

Police Bullet Hit Sydney Hostage

Bullet ricocheted, hit Katrina Dawson during cops' shootout with gunman

(Newser) - Australian cops who stormed the Sydney chocolate shop where a gunman took 18 people hostage may have accidentally killed one of the captives in the melee, the Sydney Morning Herald says. Police investigators say that forensics show 38-year-old Katrina Dawson was struck by fragments from a police bullet, which ricocheted... More »

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