ISIS releases internet video purportedly showing American journalist Steven Sotloff's beheading
By RYAN GORMAN
The Islamic State has released an Internet video claiming to show the beheading of kidnapped Time magazine journalist Steven Sotloff, according to a terrorist monitoring site.
Titled "A second message to America," the video was released just days after an emotional plea from his mother directly to the militants begging for her son's life to be spared. The video's existence was first reported by Site Intel Group.
The American journalist's life was previously threatened while he was shown by ISIS militants at the end of the video now confirmed to have shown the beheading of freelance U.S. photojournalist James Foley.
Sotloff's execution video followed a similar cadence to Foley's. Sotloff was shown kneeling in an orange robe next to a all-black-clad terrorist. He read a statement condemning American airstrikes on Islamic State positions.
"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'm paying the price of your interference with my life?" Sotloff asked.
"I remember a time you could not win an election without promising to bring our troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan and close down Guantanamo," the Florida native continued as an eerily calm desert betrayed the horrific end soon coming to his life.
"Here you are now, Obama, nearing the end of your term, and having achieved none of the above, and deceivingly marching us, the American people, in the blazing fire."
A surprise turn came when the executioner, face also covered in black, openly mocked Obama and claimed he was the same person who beheaded Foley.
"I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State," said the British man believed to be former rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 24, according to British intelligence officials.
"Because of your insistence on continuing your bombings and [garbled] on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warnings," the killer continues. "You, Obama, have but to gain from you actions but another American citizen.
"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."
The video then more clearly shows the death of Sotloff than Foley.
The Foley video cut out from his beheading just as the knife touched his throat to show only his head sitting on top of his lifeless body, Sotloff's execution was much more graphically depicted.
ISIS militants promised to behead Sotloff if U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State military positions continued. If the reports are true, it appears the terror group has made good on their word.
U.S. officials have declined to comment on the matter other than to say the "intelligence community is now working to determine authenticity," but this awful development came only days after Sotloff's mother, Shirley Sotloff, pleaded for the mujahedeen to release her son.
"My son is in your hands," said Shirley Sotloff. "As a mother I ask Your Justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life."
A rambling, angry response in Arabic was posted to Twitter Friday evening, but her son's death appears to be a more definitive answer.
"The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately," the Sotloff family said through a spokesperson. "There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time."
The horrifying video ended with the life of Briton David Cawthorne Haines being threatened.
Time magazine editor Nancy Gibbs said in a statement that the publication was "shocked and deeply saddened by reports of Steven's death.
"Steven was a valued contributor to TIME and other news organizations, and he gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said: "If the video is genuine we are sickened by this brutal act taking the life of another innocent American citizen."
Florida Governor Charlie Scott said in a statement: "We want to convey our sorrow and our condolences to the entire Sotloff family. We cannot begin to understand their grief. The people who did this are evil. They are not merely wrong, they are not adversaries, they are evil.
"Evil must be confronted and destroyed. In fact, these immoral animals reject the basic code of human morality that crosses all cultures," Scott continued. "This is not a political or international disagreement. It is a case of barbarians choosing to set themselves apart from the rest of humanity."
Many journalists expressed outrage and remorse on Twitter.
Steven Sotloff was 31-years-old.
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Slain American journalist James Foley was reportedly waterboarded by ISIS terrorists