US says Sotloff beheading video is authentic

Washington - The United States said on Wednesday that a video showing the beheading of a second US journalist by Islamic State militants is authentic.

Islamic State extremists on Tuesday released the video showing freelance reporter Steven Sotloff's beheading, two weeks after the emergence of a video showing the killing of journalist James Foley.

In the Sotloff video, a masked militant warns President Barack Obama that as long as US airstrikes against the militant group continue, "our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people".

Sotloff, a 31-year-old Miami-area native who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, vanished a year ago in Syria and was not seen again until he appeared in the video that showed Foley's beheading.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against an arid Syrian landscape, Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the US stopped airstrikes on the Islamic State.

In the video distributed on Tuesday and titled A Second Message to America, Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is apparently beheaded by a fighter with the Islamic State, the extremist group that has conquered wide swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and declared itself a caliphate.

In the video, the organisation threatens to kill another hostage, this one identified as a British citizen, David Cawthorne Haines. It was not immediately clear who Haines was.

Last week, Sotloff's mother, Shirley Sotloff, pleaded with his captors for mercy, saying in a video that her son was "an innocent journalist" and "an honorable man" who "has always tried to help the weak".

Barak Barfi, a spokesperson for the Sotloff family, said on Tuesday they were grieving after having seen the video. With President Barack Obama on a visit to Estonia, the White House announced the verification.

"The US intelligence community has analysed the recently released video showing US citizen Steven Sotloff and has reached the judgment that it is authentic", National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin said in a statement on Wednesday.

Britain and France called the Sotloff killing "barbaric". British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement that he would chair an emergency response meeting with his Cabinet on Wednesday to review the latest developments.

State department spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that it is believed that "a few" Americans are still being held by the Islamic State. Psaki would not give any specifics, but one is a 26-year-old woman kidnapped while doing humanitarian aid work in Syria, according to a family representative who asked that the hostage not be identified out of fear for her safety.

- AP
Siyanda Peter 2014-09-03 01:16:54 PM
Sad and very unfortunate to be this guy who becomes a victim in the cross fire of evil forces. RIP.
Kobus Hattingh 2014-09-03 01:17:21 PM
How many more must die before they blast these terrorists off the planet?
Kiss123 2014-09-03 01:18:53 PM
Please take all the Muslims out of their misery ! Expect heavy casualties soon .
dfgdg.ytrdfgbfdg 2014-09-03 01:22:18 PM
In the name of Islam
David Van Schalkwyk 2014-09-03 01:22:36 PM
USA please just Nuke the place and get it over and done with... Turn the place into a grave yard and send them to that God they so love...
Bob Van Wilder 2014-09-03 01:29:28 PM
Don't nuke it, there are a few thousand christians who want to live in peace. But at the sound of Sharia law they should respond with a little napalm rain yes. This backwoods mentality of one religion justifying slavery and slaughtering other religions must catch a wake up - best yet...wake up on a bed that is burning already.
Alta Steyn 2014-09-03 01:33:34 PM
Of course it is. Why would it not be? They (IS) are murderers, rapists of men, women and children. The internet is plastered with their vile acts. How can anyone still question the authenticity of the video? They should stop wondering and start acting! Watched Skye News last night with the breaking news of the beheading and the Obama admin reacting to it. When being asked questions by reporters the spokesperson could not even answer some of the questions. They have to consult with their lawyers, she said and that to a simple question? The IS wants world domination, this does not end with this video. It is the start of much worse to come and they will kill anybody who stands in their way.
CraigJoseph 2014-09-03 01:37:56 PM
If your religion is worth killing for, why not start with yourselves!
Deon Pretorius 2014-09-03 01:40:12 PM
They are to stupid to realize that they have just done more harm than good to their own religion. A large part of the world cannot distinguish between the Islamic groups. They just say see Moslems killing other people. They are playing to the stereotype.
Andre James 2014-09-03 01:51:00 PM
PLEEEEEZZZZE give me a break. They also said there were WMD's in Iraq. They also said that China was spying on everyone..we now know that the NSA is spying on everyone. The Foley staged clip was so unbelievable that they had to follow it up with another "authentic" looking beheading.