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Obama: Video of beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff authentic

 

The SITE Intelligence Group on Tuesday released an Islamic State video posted online that showed the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by the same IS militants who killed James Foley last month.

U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed Wednesday that the video is authentic.

“Overnight, our government confirmed that, tragically, Steven was taken from us in a horrific act of violence,” the president said.

Sotloff, a freelance journalist who wrote for Time, had been missing in Syria since last year. A spokesman for Sotloff's relatives on Tuesday told the Associated Press that the family had heard the news and is "grieving privately."

The video released Tuesday, titled "A Second Message to America," closely mirrored the format of the Aug. 19 video that depicted the beheading of Foley, an American journalist missing in Syria since 2012 who had reported for GlobalPost. 

It opened, as the previous video did, with footage of President Barack Obama making promises to fight the Islamic State. The footage in this latest video came from the Aug. 20 statement Obama made after Foley's killing was confirmed.

"We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere we do what's necessary to see that justice is done, and we act against ISIL, standing alongside others," Obama says in the clip, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms.

A new scene begins with Sotloff, 31, kneeling next to a black-clad militant in windy desert. Like Foley was, Sotloff is wearing an orange jumpsuit with a small microphone clipped to the collar.

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"Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests," Sotloff says. "So why is it that I’m having to pay the price of the interference with my life? Am I not an American citizen?"

After Sotloff's statement, the militant, whose British accent sounds similar to that of the man who apparently killled Foley, addresses the U.S. president.

“I’m back, Obama. And I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State,” he says.

After Sotloff is killed, the video closes with the militant threatening the life of a man identified as a citizen of the UK named David Cawthorne Haines. NBC News identified Haines as "a former British soldier who worked for a string of aid organizations."

Sotloff himself was threatened in the same manner at the end of the Aug. 19 video that showed Foley's execution. Then, the militant holding Sotloff had said his life would depend on Obama's "next move."

In Tuesday's video, the militant holds onto the man identified as Haines by the back of his shirt as he makes a new threat.

"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," he says.

SITE, an independent group that monitors terrorist networks, also released a transcript of statements in the video.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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