ISIS has released a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, saying that the murder is in retaliation for US air strikes against the group in Iraq.
Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by the group after the brutal murder of Michael Foley two weeks ago.
As with the first murder, Sotloff is shown in an orange jump suit before he is beheaded by an ISIS extremist.
Although it has not yet been confirmed, the executioner appears to be the same man who killed Michael Foley. The killer, nicknamed ‘Jihadi John’, says: “I’m back Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards Islamic State.”
Sotloff then calmly reads a statement saying: “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?”
‘John’, who is one of four British jihadists in ISIS who are collectively known as the ‘Beatles’ because of their British backgrounds, then threatened to kill a British citizen next.
The Daily Mail reports that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest appeared to be taken by surprise when a reporter asked him about the killing during a regular press briefing. He suggested that the reports must have surfaced while he was already speaking:
“This may have just happened in the last few minutes while I’ve been standing up here.”
“This is something that the administration has obviously been watching carefully since this threat against Mr. Sotloff’s life was originally made a few weeks ago.”
“I’m not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video, or reports, obviously, since I just walked out here.”
“But if there is a video that has been released, it is something that will be analyzed very carefully by the U.S. government and our intelligence officials to determine its authenticity.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has called the killing an “absolutely disgusting, despicable act”.