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ISIS waterboarded captives, including James Foley

At least four hostages held by ISIS in Syria were waterboarded shortly after being captured, sources familiar with their treatment said.

Journalist James Foley, who was beheaded last week by the militant group, was waterboarded several times while being held in Raqqah, Syria, sources said. The Washington Post reports that the group seemed to model the technique on the CIA's use of waterboarding terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks. "They knew exactly how it was done," said a source, who said they would discuss the treatment of the hostages on condition of anonymity.

Waterboarding involves putting someone on a gurney or bench, then putting a cloth over their face. Cold water is poured over them, causing the feeling of drowning.

A French journalist who had been imprisoned with Foley, Didier François, has told reporters that their captors discovered photos of Foley's brother, who serves in the U.S. Air Force, on his computer. That resulted in Foley being targeted for extra abuse, including mock executions. On Thursday, Foley's mother, Diane, said she had not been told that her son was waterboarded.