The ISIL terrorist group has released a video that claims to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a US journalist being held hostage by the militants.
Last month, the White House confirmed the authenticity of a gruesome video showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley by ISIL. The video shows a black-masked ISIL militant beheading Foley in retaliation for US airstrikes against the group in Iraq. It also warns that the group would slay Sotloff, if the US president did not halt the airstrikes.
“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the ISIL militant said.
ISIL has executed Sotloff and posted the video showing his beheading on the Internet, the SITE Intelligence Group, a research organization that tracks terrorist web postings, said on Tuesday.
The video shows a bound Sotloff being held at knifepoint by an ISIL militant against a desert backdrop that appears similar to the one shown in the Foley beheading video.
Sotloff, who disappeared in Syria in 2013, had worked with Time magazine, Foreign Policy and other publications.
His mother recently issued a video in which she requested ISIL to release her son.
A spokesman for the Sotloff family said, “The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said US officials were checking the reports.
In the video, ISIL allegedly also threatens to kill David Haines, a British citizen.
ISIL controls large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The group sent its fighters into neighboring Iraq in June, quickly seizing large swaths of land straddling the border between the two countries.
The US military has begun planning for airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria after the Foley beheading. The US has launched a limited air campaign against the terrorist group in Iraq since August 8.