The terrorist group Islamic State released a video Tuesday apparently depicting the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.


The terrorist group Islamic State released a video Tuesday apparently depicting the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.

Sotloff, kneeling, says he is "paying the price" for the U.S. intervention in Iraq with his life.

"You've spent billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars and we've lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State," Sotfloff says. "So where is the people's interest in reigniting this war?"

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Moments later, a man dressed in black blames Obama before beheading Sotloff.

"I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State," the man says.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that while the White House was not able to confirm the tape's authenticity, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Sotloff's family."

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki: "If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act."

Sotloff, 31, appeared in a video released by the group last month that showed the beheading of another journalist, James Foley. The group threatened to kill Sotloff next.

His mother, Shirley Sotloff, then released a video appealing to the Islamic State for his release.

"Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He's an innocent journalist," she said. "I've always learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over."

Sotloff was kidnapped Aug. 4, 2013, near Aleppo, after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey.

Sotloff filed freeelance stories with numerous publications, including Time and Foreign Policy, and remained moderately active on social media while he worked in the Middle East. One video shows him on the streets of Aleppo as a bomber flies overhead.

Like many freelancers in the region, he was drawn to the hottest stories, regardless of the risks. He listed Benghazi, Libya, as his residence on social media and reported vigorously about the fatal U.S. Embassy attack in the city in late 2012, appearing on Fox News to offer his account and report on his interviews with guards at the compound.

His friend Anne Marloe told The Daily Mail that Sotloff had lived in Yemen for years and spoke Arabic well. "He deeply loved the Islamic world," she said.

Listed on Facebook as one of his favorite quotes is a plea from the late American diplomat George Kennan to refrain from simplifying our foreign enemies: "We Americans like our adversaries wholly inhuman; all powerful, omniscient, monstrously efficient, unhampered by any serious problems of their own, and bent only on schemes for our destruction. Whatever their real nature, we always persist in seeing them this way. It is the reflection of a philosophic weakness — of an inability to recognize any relativity in matters of friendship and enmity."

Contributing: Doug Stanglin; Roger Yu

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