NEWS: ISIS beheads US journalist Steven Sotloff.

Steven Joel Sotloff




Islamic militant group ISIS claims to have beheaded another American journalist – Steven Joel Sotloff, a freelance journalist who was abducted in August 2013 in Syria.

In a video made public overnight by a jihadist monitoring organisation, a masked man dressed in black describes the act he is about to commit as retribution for the US air strikes.

“I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State… despite our serious warnings,” the executioner says in a London accent.

In the most recent video, Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is “paying the price” for US intervention.

The ISIS militant issues a threat against a British hostage, and also warns governments to back off “this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State”.

“We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.”

The executioner appears to be the same man, known as ‘Jihadi John’, who killed US journalist James Wright Foley in a beheading video last month.

Sotloff’s life was threatened in that first public video.

AP reportedly has spoken to the family of Steven Sotloff, who say they are aware of the video and are grieving.

On August 27th the world watched his mother, Shirley bravely appealed directly to ISIS via YouTube for her son’s release.

“Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson,” she said.

“He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak.”


Twitter users are urging the public to use this image of Sotloff rather than the one of him being beheaded.

According to NBC News, the United States have devoted significant time and resources attempting to rescue Sotloff.

US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the video is genuine, “we are sickened”.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was among the first world leaders to react, saying: “I’ve just seen the news. It’s an absolutely disgusting and despicable act and I will be making a statement later,” as the BBC reports.

Australian journalist Hamish McDonald, who studied with Sotloff in Yemen, has also spoken out about the devastating incident.

Speaking via videolink to the ABC’s News Breakfast program, McDonald said Sotloff’s greatest trait was his curiosity- “curiosity about the Arab worlds, about religion”.

“Clearly you have seen this in his work, a desire to communicate what he understood as a result of that curiosity,” McDonald said.

Hamish McDonald appearing on ABC News Breakfast.

“I think obviously the first thing you think of is his family… there was the threat that was made when James Foley was executed. (But) I suppose the fact that Steven was shown alive means that there was a reasonable degree of hope,” he said.

“I think when anything like this happens, it rocks journalists, obviously because you work in these places, you are aware of the risks,” he said.

“We all make some kind of bargain with ourselves that in doing this work, that whatever we do, wherever we go, it may be dangerous, but whatever we encounter is probably okay as long as it doesn’t touch or affect the people that we love and leave behind at home,” McDonald said.

“The reality is that when something like this happens, it makes you realise how hopelessly and probably recklessly optimistic that kind of thinking is.”

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