Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama: Video of slain journalist is authentic, U.S. won't be intimidated

TALLINN, Estonia — U.S. intelligence officials have verified the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, President Barack Obama said Wednesday, as he declared that the United States will "not be intimidated" by the Islamic State militants' acts of "barbarism."

"Whatever these murderers think they'll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed," Obama said. "We will not forget, and our reach is long, and justice will be served."

During an appearance in Maine, Vice President Joe Biden declared that the United States will pursue the militants to "the gates of hell."

The Sunni militant group on Tuesday released the video purportedly showing Sotloff shortly before and after his death. In the video, a black-clad militant declares that Sotloff's killing was in retaliation for the U.S. airstrikes Obama has ordered on Islamic State targets in northern Iraq.

"Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people," the man says.

The video was released hours before Obama left Washington for Estonia, where he is meeting with Baltic leaders before heading to Wales for a NATO summit. At a news conference Wednesday morning, Obama expressed his condolences to Sotloff's family and praised Sotloff as a journalist who "deeply loved the Islamic world."

Sotloff, a 31-year-old freelance journalist who wrote for such outlets as Time and Foreign Policy magazines, was kidnapped shortly after crossing into Syria in August 2013. Two weeks ago, he appeared in a video showing the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley. In that video, a militant in a similar black mask and speaking English with a British accent threatened that Sotloff would be next.

Obama has continued the air campaign against the group, despite the threats.

Sotloff's family, friends and colleagues remembered him as an adventurous man who was fascinated with the Middle East. Friends said he moved to Israel in 2005 as a student.

Outside his parents' home in the Miami suburb of Pinecrest, family friend Barak Barfi read a statement late Wednesday that said Sotloff was torn between living a normal American life — watching South Park, playing golf and eating junk food — and going to the Middle East's trouble spots as a journalist.

"He was no war junkie. He did not want to be a modern-day Lawrence of Arabia," Barfi said. "He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none. From the Libyan doctor in Misrata who struggled to provide psychological services to children ravaged by war, to the Syrian plumber who risked his life by crossing regime lines to purchase medicine, their story was Steve's story. He ultimately sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world."

The Islamic State has seized large pieces of northern and western Iraq in its campaign to establish a caliphate across the region.

Unlike some nations, the United States does not negotiate or pay ransom for hostages, officials say. Earlier this summer, Obama authorized a raid on an Islamic State camp in Syria in an attempt to rescue Sotloff, Foley and others thought to be held by the group, but no hostages were found at the site.

Obama has said he is considering striking Islamic State forces in Syria, although he acknowledged he hopes to more fully develop a strategy for such action as he consults with allies in coming days.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Kittery, Maine, Wednesday, said America will pursue the militants to “the gates of hell.” 

Associated Press

Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Kittery, Maine, Wednesday, said America will pursue the militants to “the gates of hell.” 

Obama: Video of slain journalist is authentic, U.S. won't be intimidated 09/03/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 3, 2014 10:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Johnny Depp asks about assassinating the president at Glastonbury Festival (w/video)

    Celebrities

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

    Actor Johnny Depp introduces a film at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Thursday, June 22, 2017. [Grant Pollard | Invision/AP]
  2. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's

    Blogs

     

  3. Florida education news: Charter schools, traveling man, lunch prices and more

    Blogs

    #HB7069: Now that it's law, HB 7069 has a new target on its back: Will it be challenged in court? Broward County Democrat Sen. Gary Farmer says he's doing all he can "to …

    Thousands of children attend Florida charter schools, which are growing in number and now stand to receive capital projects local tax revenue.
  4. Forecast: Hot, humid and mostly dry conditions prevail for St. Pete Pride weekend

    Weather

    The threat of any lingering effects from Tropical Storm Cindy have passed, leaving behind a relatively dry — but hot and humid — St. Pete Pride weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast [WTSP]
  5. Florida Insiders: The state parties are dying; 'I heard someone long for the leadership of Jim Greer'

    Blogs

    For all the attention on Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel's bone headed gaffe this week, the diminished state of the once mighty Florida GOP today compared to even a few years ago is arguably more striking than the condition of the long-suffering Florida Democratic Party. A decade ago, no one would have …

    Florida Insider Poll