ISIS video purports to show beheading of Steven Sotloff

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 2:53pm

(JTA) — The Islamist ISIS organization has released a video that apparently shows the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff.

The nearly three-minute video, titled “A Second Message to America,” was released Tuesday afternoon on Twitter and other online outlets.

Sotloff family spokesman Barak Barfi said in a brief statement that the family “knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately,” The Associated Press reported.

Sotloff was abducted on Aug. 4, 2013, after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey.

The video reportedly is similar to one showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley that was released on Aug. 19. At the end of that video, Sotloff is shown on his knees with a voice threatening President Obama that Sotloff will be next.

In the video released Tuesday, a man with a British accent is dressed all in black and is holding a large knife in his left hand. He says, “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”

The executioner — suspected to be the same person who beheaded Foley — is shown cutting Sotloff’s throat before the video cuts to a bloody body with a severed head.

Before he was executed, Sotloff says on the video, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?”

At the end of the video, the executioner is shown threatening another individual, identified as David Cawthorne Haines, a Briton.

The video was first discovered by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online postings of Islamist militant groups.

Sotloff grew up in Miami, the son of Arthur and Shirley Sotloff. Shirley Sotloff has worked in the early childhood program at Temple Beth Am Day School in Pinecrest, Fla., according to the synagogue website.

Last week, Shirley Sotloff pleaded in a video for his captors to have mercy on him.

“He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak,” she said, adding that he was sympathetic to the suffering of Muslims.

Sotloff published articles from Syria, Egypt and Libya in various publications, including Time.com, the World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy.

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