SITE organization, which constantly monitors the activity of Islamic militants on the internet, reported late on Tuesday that the extremists published a video, which allegedly shows the execution of the journalist.
On the video, a man, whom experts believe to resemble Sotloff, addresses US President Barack Obama before the execution. He presents himself and says: “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? You've spent billions of US taxpayers' dollars and we have lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so where is the people's interest in reigniting this war?”
The man resembling Sotloff on the video also points that Obama during his election campaign repeatedly promised to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to close the prison in US military base Guantanamo (Cuba). “Here you are, Obama, nearing the end of your term and having achieved none of the above … [instead] marching us, the American people, into a blazing fire,” he says.
The militant in a black mask on the video threatened that the next could be the execution of British citizen David Haines. Experts noted that, judging from the voice, the terrorist that allegedly executed Sotloff on the video is the murderer of another American journalist, James Foley.
The family of Steven Sotloff believes the video footage showing his execution by ISIS militants is authentic, according to a statement by the spokesperson for the journalist’s family Barak Barfi.
“The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately,” the statement says. “There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time.”
The White House and the Department of State couldn’t confirm reports about Sotloff’s murder yet.
The footage of the execution of Foley, who went missing in Syria in November 2012, was published on the internet about two weeks ago. Then, the militant, whose face was covered with a mask, said that the next one could be Sotloff, who also was featuring in the video.
The statement of the militants said: “The life of this American citizen, Obama depends on your next decision.”
Steven Sotloff, a reporter for Time magazine, went missing in August 2013 in Libya. After reports came that he could also be executed, his mother Shirley Sotloff recorded a video message for the terrorists, who held her son. In her message, she directly addresses Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS leader, asking to let Steven go. “Since Stephen's capture, I've learned a lot about Islam. I've learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others. Stephen has no control over the actions of the US government. He's an innocent journalist,” The Washington Post quotes Sotloff’s mother.
The main demand of ISIS in all the cases was the stopping of US air attacks and the suspension of cooperation of Iraqi authorities and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan with Washington. The US is delivering air strikes on the militants’ positions, supply weapons to Baghdad, provide humanitarian aid and render intelligence support.