THE LEVANT – SANA -Syria state news agency – has confirmed on Tuesday that ISIL militants admitted to the beheading of a second US journalist.
An Islamic State video has appeared which purports to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a US journalist being held hostage by the militants.
Sotloff, 31, disappeared in Syria in 2013. He appeared at the end of a video last month which showed fellow US journalist James Foley being killed.
A militant in the latest video also threatens to kill a British hostage.
Sotloff’s family said they were aware of the video and were “grieving privately”.
After Foley’s death, Sotloff’s mother appealed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to save her son’s life.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said US officials were checking the reports.
The US has recently carried out dozens of air strikes against IS targets in Iraq.
The video, entitled “A second message to America”, is about two-and-a-half minutes long and is apparently set in a desert.
It appears to have been filmed after Foley’s, though it is impossible to determine the exact timing.
It shows a masked figure together with Sotloff, who is dressed in an orange jumpsuit.
Sotloff reads out a text addressed to Obama saying: “You’ve spent billions of US taxpayers’ dollars and we have lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so where is the people’s interest in reigniting this war?”
The masked man, whose voice is similar to that of the executioner in the Foley video, then describes the act he is about to commit as retribution for the US air strikes.
“I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State… despite our serious warnings,” the man says.
“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.”
The video ends with the militant threatening to kill a captive who is claimed to be British.
US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act.”
Earnest urged caution about the veracity of the video.
“Our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with Mr Sotloff and Mr Sotloff’s family and those who worked with him,” he said.
“I’m not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video or the reports.
“It’s something that will be analysed very carefully by the US government and our intelligence officials to establish its authenticity.”