Captured American journalist Steven Sotloff has reportedly been executed by a member of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. IS has released a video that purports to show the beheading of Sotloff.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a press conference that if reports are true, the administration sends its condolences to the Sotloff family. Earnest added that the video would be analyzed thoroughly by U.S. intelligence to confirm that it was in fact legitimate. He said that the U.S. had “dedicated significant time and resources” in their seemingly failed effort to rescue the American citizen.
The individual in the video warned nations to reject their “evil alliance of America against the Islamic State.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said in response to hearing about the video, “I’ve just seen the news. It’s an absolutely disgusting and despicable act and I will be making a statement later.”
Steven Sotloff was captured in August, 2013 while reporting on the civil war in Syria between Islamist forces and those loyal to president Bashar al-Assad. Sotloff was widely unseen until he surfaced in a video last month, in which American journalist James Foley was beheaded by a British Islamic State militant. The terrorist then brought Sotloff in front of the camera and warned that he would also be executed should the U.S. continue its air campaign in Iraq.
Sotloff was reportedly executed by the same Islamic State jihadi that butchered James Foley, according to The Guardian.
Last week, Sotloff’s mother Shirley released a video in which she begged “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, to release her son. “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,” she said.
The American journalist had worked for several publications, including Time, The National Interest, and Foreign Policy.