A new video has been posted on the internet by the Islamic State titled “A Second Message to America,” showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, two weeks after the group published a similar video of American photojournalist James Foley suffering the same fate.
“I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State,” a masked militant believed to be the same who executed Foley addresses the president in the latest video.
Kneeling in an orange jump suit, Sotloff is seen in the clip reading a statement to the president as Foley did before him.
“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?” Sotloff asks.
A 31-year-old freelance journalist who has written for Time magazine and the Christian Science Monitor, among others, Sotloff was kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria in August 2013.
In the video of Foley’s execution last month, the Islamic State demanded that President Obama cease attacks on the group or else risk Sotloff becoming the next casualty of the group’s violent campaign in Iraq and Syria. Sotloff’s fate, a militant warned Pres. Obama last month, “depends on your next decision.”
In response, Sotloff’s mother posted a minute-and-a-half-long video plea asking Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to release her son.
“As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people,” the masked man says before killing Sotloff.
Included in the fourth issue of the Islamic State’s magazine DABIQ, the group published a letter allegedly written by Steven Sotloff to his mother just days before his murder:
Another captured civilian — David Cawthorne Haines of the UK — will be the next murdered unless “this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State” ends, the IS militant warns at the end of the video. UPDATE 09/13/2014 (GRAPHIC VIDEO) Islamic State Beheads British Aid Worker David Haines
Haines is a Briitsh national who did security work for a string of aid organizations.
An official with Nonviolent Peaceforce, a civilian peacekeeping group, confirmed to NBC News that the man in the video did security work for them in South Sudan in 2012 and was working for another aid group when he was reported abducted in early 2013 in Syria. Haines also had experience with the British military and was “very familiar with insecure locations,” according to the official.
A LinkedIn profile for Haines lists him as the Consultant Director of Croatia-based company Astraea, which supplies kitchen equipment. Haines writes on his page that he has “23 years of working experience in ever increasing positions of responsibility within privates, NGO and military environments.” Haines also worked for a company called Military Sales & Service from January 1988 – October 1999 where he worked in various roles. Among those roles was “threat assessments in a number of different countries.”
Officials told BBC News that Prime Minister David Cameron had known for months that IS had seized a Briton. Downing Street says it has not commented on the fate of the British hostage while there has been what officials call “strong family liaison” with his relatives.
It appears from chatter on ISIS forums that the initial video release was an unintentional leak from within ISIS circles. An ISIS-affiliated twitter account (now suspended) published the video ahead of the prescribed time. Another ISIS-affiliated account, @Khattabyaz pulled them up on their error, but at that point it was too late, and the video was in circulation. The group then apologised to its followers for the lack of discipline in a text missive on JustPaste, saying:
“A clarification about the mistake was made by “Uyun al-Ummah” account, that has published the video before the official time.
The user saw a tweet with the video and thought it was published officially. We tried to remove the video after we understood that his was published by mistake, and we are sorry to the followers of the Islamic State.”