Britain holds emergency meeting as US confirm beheading video is authentic
Mum's heartbreaking plea ignored as son is butchered by terrorists
Published 03/09/2014 | 02:30
British Prime Minister David Cameron has convened the government's Cobra emergency committee after Islamic State (IS) beheaded a second US journalist - and warned a British hostage could be next.
The United States has said the video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff is authentic.
The masked killer is thought to be the same jihadist with a London accent who carried out the on-screen slaughter of US reporter James Foley a fortnight ago.
Mr Cameron expressed disgust at the extremists' "barbarism" after footage showing Mr Sotloff's murder was released.
IS extremists released a video last night purportedly showing the beheading of a Mr Sotloff, and warning President Barack Obama that as long as US airstrikes against the militant group continue, "our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."
The video also made it clear that a Briton will be the next hostage murdered by Islamist terrorists, the British extremist known as "Jihadi John" threatened last night, as he beheaded a Mr Sotloff and announced "I'm back".
The footage - depicting what the US said appeared to be a sickening act of brutality - was posted two weeks after the release of video showing the killing of James Foley and days after Mr Sotloff's mother pleaded for his life.
Barak Barfi, a spokesman for the Sotloff family, said that the family had seen the video but that authorities have not established its authenticity.
"The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time," Mr Barfi said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) carried out its threat to murder Mr Sotloff, the American who was shown last month in the video of the murder of his fellow American, Mr Foley.
Just as Mr Sotloff appeared as the next potential victim at the end of the Foley video, British hostage David Cawthorne Haines, wearing a Guantanamo Bay-style jumpsuit, is shown on his knees as the latest video draws to a close.
In a clear message to Mr Cameron, the British terrorist 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 SITE Intelligence Group, a US terrorism watchdog, first reported about the video's existence. Unlike the footage of Mr Foley's beheading, which was widely shared on Twitter accounts affiliated with Isis, the video purporting to show Mr Sotloff's killing was not immediately posted online, though several jihadi websites told users to expect it yesterday.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said US intelligence analysts will work as quickly as possible to determine if the video of the beheading is authentic.
"If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act, taking the life of another innocent American citizen," Ms Psaki said.
Ms Psaki said it's believed that "a few" Americans are still being held by Isil but would not give any specifics.
The militant who beheads Mr Sotloff in the video called it retribution for Mr Obama's continued air strikes against the group in Iraq.
"I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State ... despite our serious warnings," the militant said. "So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."
The killer specifically mentions the recent US air strikes around the Mosul dam and the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, making it unlikely that Mr Sotloff was killed at the same time as Mr Foley, as some analysts had speculated.
Over the weekend, Iraqi government forces with help from US air strikes broke Isil's two-month siege of Amirli.
Before the video's release, messages on websites frequented by jihadis warned of a "second message to America." However, it appeared that a separate faction of the Islamic State group posted it early to another account before it was supposed to be released.
(© Daily Telegraph)