The video showing American journalist Steven Sotloff being beheaded has been confirmed as authentic by President Barack Obama. Speaking at a press conference in Estonia, Obama said that the video of Sotloff was real and shows the Islamist terror group ISIS carrying out the beheading, according to ABC News.
“Overnight, our government confirmed that, tragically, Steven was taken from us in a horrific act of violence,” Obama said. He went on to say how sad he was for the family members of Sotloff.
The video, which appeared online Tuesday, shows Steven kneeling on the ground in a desert, and a man clad in head-to-toe in black with his face covered except for his eyes. The voice of the masked man, who has a British accent, is strikingly similar to the voice of the man who killed American journalist James Foley two weeks ago. In that case, the man also claimed to be with ISIS.
“You have been at the forefront of the aggression toward the Islamic state,” says the man. Investigators are already analyzing and comparing the voices in the Steven Sotloff video and the James Foley video to see if the killer is the same person.
The horrific incident won’t make the U.S. back down, though, said Obama. He said the Steven Sotloff beheading will only “stiffen our resolve.”
“Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served,” he said.
In the video that shows Sotloff being killed, he also delivers a message to President Obama.
“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?” asked Sotloff.
“I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing,” he added.
Sotloff was the grandson of two Holocaust survivors and wrote for the Christian Science Monitor, the Daily Caller, Foreign Policy, TIME, and the World Affairs Journal. He had joint Israeli-American citizenship and worked in the Middle East as a freelancer for years.
According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Sotloff had immigrated to Israel in 2005. He was taken captive in early August 2013, and a prevailing theory is that he was taken captive by a criminal gang and then handed over, possibly sold, to ISIS.
Steven Sotloff was described by friends as a talented journalist and a courageous person.