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ISIS Beheads Journalist Steven Sotloff In "A Second Message To America" Video

A video that shows the beheading of American Steven Sotloff was delivered as a "second message to America" to halt airstrikes in Iraq, following through on a threat to kill the journalist.

Cover image via says.com

On Tuesday, a video released by ISIS appears to show the execution of Steven Sotloff, marking the second time in two weeks the extremist group has beheaded an American journalist

American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line in June 2011 in Misrata, Libya.

Image via guim.co.uk

Extremists aligned with the Islamic State (Isis) group in Iraq and Syria on Tuesday posted a video online purporting to show the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff. Sotloff had appeared on an Isis video uploaded on 19 August showing the killing of American journalist James Foley. Sotloff was shown kneeling with a figure in black standing behind him. In the Foley video, the militants warned that Sotloff would be killed unless the United States changed its policy in the region.

theguardian.com

In the video, entitled A Second Message to America, a masked man is shown beheading Sotloff, whose life had earlier been threatened in a video that showed the murder of James Foley

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The video, released by the Islamic State (Isis) on Tuesday, features a voiceover delivered by a British jihadi with a ­distinctive London accent, apparently the same man who was filmed beheading Foley two weeks ago. It ends with the killer threatening another hostage, identified as a Briton. Jabbing his serrated knife towards the camera, the masked man is shown declaring: “I’m back, Obama.”

cnn.com

The hostage, Steven Sotloff, is shown in the video kneeling like the previous victim, while a masked figure stands above, wielding a knife. Sotloff addresses the camera and describes himself as "paying the price" for Obama's decision to strike ISIS.

A video purportedly showing U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff kneeling next to a masked Islamic State fighter holding a knife in an unknown location in this still image from video released by Islamic State 2 September 2014.

Image via imgur.com

I am Steven Joel Sotloff. I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing before you. And now this time for my message: Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life. Am I not an American citizen? You’ve spent billions of U.S. tax payers dollars and we’ve lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so where is the people’s interest in reigniting this war?

theguardian.com

Form what little I know about foreign policy, I remember a time you could not win an election without promising to bring our troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan and to close down Guantanamo. Here you are now, Obama, nearing the end of your term, and having achieving none of the above, and deceivingly marching us the American people in the blazing fire.

theguardian.com

The ISIS fighter then says: "I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State"

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I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombings and [unclear] on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warnings. You, Obama, have but to gain from your actions but another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people... We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.

nypost.com

As Sotloff struggles and tries to stand, the ISIS fighter starts to slit his throat. The camera cuts out to black, then footage shows what appears to be Sotloff's severed head placed on his stomach.

The footage closely resembles a video depicting the beheading of American journalist James Foley two weeks ago. The executioner in that video also appeared to have a London accent, though it was unclear if this was the same man. In the Foley video, Sotloff was dragged before the camera toward the end. The masked man said Sotloff’s life depended in part on whether the United States would stop bombing Islamic State militants in Iraq.

mashable.com

The beheading of 31-year-old Sotloff came despite televised pleas from his mother to the leader of ISIS seeking mercy for her son

The Islamic State threatened to kill a third man in the video. He was identified as David Cawthorne Haines, a British aid worker who was kidnapped in March 2013 at a refugee camp near Syria's border with Turkey, according to The Washington Post.

A video purportedly showing threats being made to a man Islamic State (IS) named as David Haines by a masked IS fighter in an unknown location in this still image from video released by Islamic State 2 September 2014.

Image via imgur.com

The latest video, obtained by the Site Intelligence Group, an organization that tracks the online postings of Islamist militant groups, also shows another hostage identified as David Cawthorne Haines. Haines is a British aid worker who was abducted in March 2013 near the Atmeh refu­gee camp adjoining the Turkish border and the Syrian province of Idlib, according to aid workers involved in efforts to secure his release.

washingtonpost.com

In an apparent reference to Britain, Sotloff’s killer warns “governments that enter this evil alliance of America . . . to back off and leave our people alone.” Haines is shown in the same kneeling position and wearing the same type of orange jumpsuit as Sotloff and Foley before him.

washingtonpost.com

The video lasts less than three minutes but appears to have been carefully produced by the terrorist group, which has used online propaganda to position itself as a successor to al-Qaeda and declare itself the leader of a new Islamic caliphate

The recording opens with footage of Obama’s remarks after Foley’s death, then cuts to video of Sotloff taken from two camera angles. A digital representation of the Islamic State’s black banner flutters in the upper left corner of the frame.

cnn.com

Foley’s killing last month prompted an unusually emotional response from Obama, who interrupted his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to warn that the United States would be “relentless” against the Islamic State. Obama, who departed Tuesday for a trip to Estonia and Wales, did not publicly respond to Sotloff’s apparent killing.

washingtonpost.com

Watch the edited version of the video here:

Sotloff was abducted near the Turkish border in Syria in August 2013, according to Sherif Mansour, a program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. According to his friends, Sotloff was an unbiased observer.

Steven Sotloff working in Manama, Bahrain, in October 2010

Image via wsj.net

Few knew about his capture until the release on Aug. 19 of another video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley. That video concluded with a shot of a militant dressed in black standing beside a kneeling Mr. Sotloff and saying, "The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision."

wsj.com

Sotloff was a freelance journalist who worked for several publications, including Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy Magazine. Friends described him as good-natured, curious and thoughtful.

nytimes.com

He traveled throughout the Middle East, writing articles about Syria's civil war and the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. A friend of Mr Sotloff, US film maker Matthew Van Dyke, told the BBC: "He was a complete professional and there was no reason for this to happen to him."

bbc.com

He had worked for Time magazine, Foreign Policy and the Christian Science Monitor, and reported from Egypt, Libya and Syria. Time Magazine editor Nancy Gibbs said in a statement that she was "shocked and deeply saddened by reports of Steven Sotloff's death". "He gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world," she said.

theguardian.com

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration "has obviously been watching very carefully since this threat against Sotloff's life was originally made a few weeks ago"

A top U.S. State Department official told CNN's Christiane Amanpour to "stay tuned" on U.S. plans to combat the organization. "We are putting the features in place, developing a broad regional coalition, a broad international coalition, working to get a new Iraqi government stood up, working to get our plans in place. So stay tuned," said Brett McGurk, the deputy U.S. assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iraq.

cnn.com

Obama, who was briefed on the videotaped execution of Sotloff, came under fire from Republicans and Democrats who called on the President to take stronger against ISIS, also known as ISIL. The criticism came a week after Obama said, "We don't have a strategy yet" to deal with ISIS in Syria. Obama said he has asked America's top defense officials to prepare "a range of options."

washingtonpost.com

"Mr. President, if you can't come up with a strategy, at least tell us what the goal is regarding ISIL," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, said ISIS must be stopped. "We must use every tool at our disposal, short of introducing ground forces in combat roles, to put an end to the threat they pose to our national security," she said.

cnn.com

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