State Dept. Officials Work To Verify Islamic State's Beheading Video

Sep 2, 2014
Originally published on September 2, 2014 5:14 pm

In a new video released by the militant group Islamic State, American journalist Steven Sotloff appears to be killed by extremists associated with the group. U.S. officials are working to determine the video's authenticity.

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As we've been reporting, a new video was released today by the terrorist organization ISIS. It claims to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff. He would be the second American journalist killed by the extremist militant group. A video posted two weeks ago showed the beheading of reporter James Foley by ISIS.


In a briefing today, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. is working to determine the most recent video's authenticity.


JEN PSAKI: If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act taking the life of another innocent American citizen. Our hearts go out to the Sotloff family, and we will provide more information as it becomes available.

BLOCK: Sotloff was a 31-year-old freelance journalist whose work had been published in Time, Foreign Policy and The Christian Science Monitor. He was believed to have been kidnapped in Syria last year.

CORNISH: Since then, the Sotloff family had kept quiet about his disappearance for their son's safety until he reappeared two weeks ago in the video with James Foley. At that point, ISIS warned that Sotloff would be the next to die if the U.S. didn't stop airstrikes in Iraq. Last week, Steven Sotloff's mother, Shirley, implored her son's captors to release him.


SHIRLEY SOTLOFF: I want what every mother wants - to live to see her children's children. I plead with you to grant me this.

CORNISH: A spokesman for the family says they are grieving privately. We'll bring you updates on the story as we learn more. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.