Less than a month after James Foley was executed by a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a second journalist has been beheaded by the militant group. Journalist Steven J. Sotloff, appeared on video, and was allegedly beheaded in footage posted by the SITE Intelligence Tuesday (Sept. 2).
From NBC News:
ISIS beheaded another American journalist, James Foley, in a video released Aug. 19 and threatened to kill Sotloff unless President Barack Obama ended the airstrikes, which have pummeled ISIS targets in Iraq for four weeks.
Sotloff, 31, wrote about conflict in the Middle East for Time magazine and other publications. He grew up in Miami and attended the University of Central Florida in the early 2000s. He disappeared in August 2013 in Syria.
A family spokesman told NBC News that Sotloff’s relatives were aware of the video, and that while they were waiting for it to be verified, they were grieving.
The video, titled “A Second Message to America,” opens with a clip of President Barack Obama speaking after ISIS beheaded Foley last month. Obama vowed in those remarks to be relentless when Americans are harmed.
The video then shows Sotloff, wearing an orange jump suit and kneeling, in a sparse desert landscape, next to a black-clad ISIS fighter — a replica of the conditions in the video in which Foley was beheaded.
Sotloff went missing in Syria in 2013. Last week, his mother issued a plea for ISIS to spare her son’s life. “I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State,” she said on video. “I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands. You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Muhammad, who protected People of the Book,” she added referencing Christians and Jews.
Like Foley before him, Sotloff was made to blame President Obama for his death. The President admitted last week that there was no comprehensive strategy to take down the jihadist collective. He also refused to pay the $6 million ransom ISIS demanded to save the life of a 26-year-old kidnapped American woman.
The White House has not yet confirmed that the recording of Sotloff’s death is real. “If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act,” spokesperson for the State Department, Jen Psaki said today.