Updated 10.15 pm
AN INTERNET VIDEO purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.
Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syrian in August 2013 until he appeared in a video released online last month by the Islamic State group that showed the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.
In the video distributed Tuesday and entitled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.
The White House said that it had yet to authenticate the footage in which the Islamic State also threatens to kill a British hostage.
The fighter who beheads the man in the video called it retribution for Obama’s continued airstrikes against the group in Iraq.
“I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State … despite our serious warnings,” the militant says, speaking with a London accent.
The fighter appears to be the same man who killed Foley and US authorities are investigating the possibility that the video was shot directly after his killing but not released until now.
At the end of the video, he threatened to kill a third captive, a Briton, David Cathorne Haines.
Last week, Sotloff’s mother released an emotional plea directly aimed at Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, believed to be in control of the Islamic State group, asking him to release her son.
Addressing the leader of the Islamic State group by name, Shirley Sotloff said in a video her son was “an innocent journalist” who shouldn’t pay for U.S. government actions in the Middle East over which he has no control.
US officials said they were working to confirm the authenticity of the latest video, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington would be “sickened” if it proved genuine.
American air strikes against IS forces continued in the wake of Foley’s death, and more than 120 have been carried out, most of them hitting targets around Iraq’s largest dam north of Mosul.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the latest video depicted an “absolutely disgusting, despicable act.”
Source: AP/Press Association Images
Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy and © – AFP 2014