The Islamic State released their “Second Message to America… American hostage Steven Sotloff has been executed by jihadist terrorists. The video warns governments to back off from “this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State”. Sotloff, 31, disappeared while reporting in Syria in August 2013. His apparent kidnap was not widely reported until he appeared on a video released last month by the ISIL. In the video, British citizen David Cawthorne Haines is shown as the next beheading victim.
This is the second American executed by the Islamic militant group, and posted a video of it on the Internet, the SITE Intelligence Group, a research organization that tracks jihadist web postings, said Tuesday. Mr. Sotloff’s family issued a statement saying it believed he had been killed.
The execution of Mr. Sotloff, 31, came despite pleas from his mother aimed directly at ISIS’s top leader seeking mercy for her son, a freelance journalist who was captured in northern Syria a year ago.
Word of Mr. Sotloff’s beheading came two weeks after James Foley, 40, another American journalist, was beheaded by ISIS, which warned that Mr. Sotloff would be the next to die.The videotaped beheading’s and threats by ISIS have helped rocket the group’s ascendance into a top crisis for the Obama administration and its Western allies.
Mr. Sotloff’s family members issued a statement via a spokesman, Barak Barfi, that suggested they believed the video was authentic: “The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time.”
It was unclear from the video of Mr. Sotloff where and when it was recorded. Some Western intelligence officials have said that they believe Mr. Sotloff was executed the same day as Mr. Foley, and that the propagandists at ISIS decided to space out the publicity of each one.
But the video reported by SITE on Tuesday showed Mr. Sotloff with a small beard and some hair on his head — in contrast to the Aug. 19 video showing Mr. Foley’s death, in which Mr. Sotloff was nearly bald and relatively clean shaven. This indicated that the videos were probably made at different times.