A propaganda video showing the execution of kidnapped US reporter Steven Sotloff by a militant from the Islamic States (formerly ISIS) has appeared on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
Sotloff, 31, disappeared near Aleppo in Syria during August 2013 and was shown at the end of a video published last month that showed the beheading of fellow US journalist James Foley.
In the video entitled “A Second Message to America”, Sotloff is shown in an orange jumpsuit coerced into repeating a message blaming US President Barack Obama and US air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq for his death.
In the previous video a militant with a British accent warned Obama that Sotloff would be executed unless the US stopped its air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq.
The US has continued to target Islamic State positions in order to protect civilians and to help Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on the ground, but Sotloff’s mother, Shirley, appealed directly to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for her son’s release in a video last week. She said:
“I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Quraishi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Steven is in your hands,” she said in a video posted on the New York Times website.
“You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you please to release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.
“As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life and to follow the example set by the Prophet Muhammad, who protected People of the Book. I want what every mother wants, to live to see her children’s children, I plead with you to grant me this.”
The reporter that the militant threatens to kill in the latest video has been identified as British journalist David Cawthorne Haines.
British Prime Minister David Cameron described the beheading of Sotloff as “absolutely disgusting, despicable act” and is now left with the question as to whether Britain should join the US and begin taking military action in Iraq or to continue with air lifts of humanitarian aid.