Islamic militants beheads American journalist Steven Sotloff
BEIRUT: An internet video posted online on Tuesday
purported to show the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic
State group, which called it retribution for continued US airstrikes in Iraq.
Sotloff, 31, who freelanced for Time and Foreign
Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syria in August 2013 until he appeared
in a video released online last month by the Islamic State group that showed
the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of
an arid Syrian landscape, Sotloff was threatened in that video with death
unless the US stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.
In the video distributed on Tuesday and entitled “A
Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he was
purportedly beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.
The Associated Press could not immediately verify the
video's authenticity. The SITE Intelligence Group, a US terrorism watchdog,
first reported about the video's existence.
The fighter who beheads Sotloff in the video called it
retribution for Obama's continued airstrikes against the group in Iraq. “I’m
back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the
Islamic State ... despite our serious warnings,” the fighter said.
At the end of the video, he threatened to kill a third
captive, a Briton, David Cathorne Haines.
Sotloff’s mother had pleaded for his release last week
in a video directed at the Islamic State group.
Addressing the leader of the Islamic State group by
name, Shirley Sotloff said in a video her son was “an innocent journalist” who
shouldn’t pay for US government actions in the Middle East over which he has no
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he wasn’t
immediately aware of the purported Sotloff video and wasn’t in a position to
confirm its authenticity.
“This is something that the administration has
obviously been watching very carefully,” Earnest said. “Our thoughts and
prayers first and foremost are with Mr Sotloff and Mr Sotloff's family and
those who worked with him.”