09/03/2014, 00.00
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Ban Ki-moon: "World outraged" by Steven Sotloff beheading

"A second message to America" video released yesterday condemning US air raids on Islamic Army and showing execution by beheading of the journalist. Sotloff’s mother had sent a message asking Abu Bakra al-Baghdadi to save her son's life. Threats of another decapitation. Analysts see use of "media war" as a sign of weakness.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - " We are all outraged at reports from Iraq about the brutal killing of civilians by ISIL (IS), including yesterday's reported brutal beheading of another journalist": This was UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's reaction to the release of a video online showing the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff.

The images are very similar to those of last month in which an IS militant beheaded another US journalist, James Foley.

In the video released yesterday, entitled "A second message to America"​​, Sotloff, looking at the camera, says he is the victim of President Barack Obama's decision to launch air strikes against the jihadists in Iraq.

Sotloff is wearing a prisoners orange jumpsuit; a masked militant with a British accent, possibly the same man shown killing Foley - accuses Obama and his "arrogant foreign policy" against IS, then uses a knife to behead the journalist. At the end of the video, the militant, dressed in black, threatens to kill a third prisoner, a Briton named David Cathorne Haines

Sotloff, 31, was a freelance journalist and had worked for Time, Foreign Policy, World Affairs Journal and the Christian Science Monitor. He had lived in Yemen for several years and knew Arabic. He was abducted August 4, 2013 in the northern Syria, near Aleppo. His family only publicly admitted his abduction last month, having hoped to secure his release with a ransom and the silence of the media.

After Foley's execution, Sotloff's mother had released a video begging the "Caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to save her son's life.

The State Department is working to verify the authenticity of the video, filmed with high quality tools and techniques and says it would be "sickened" if it proved genuine.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says that the beheading that appears in the video is " absolutely disgusting, despicable act".

For some analysts, the use of this media war of bloody and shocking acts is a sign that IS is frustrated by its heavy losses in northern Iraq, in the battles against Iraqi forces, with Kurds and Shiites together, and Americans air raids. The threat to kill a British hostage next, shows that IS does not differentiate between military and humanitarian aid: Britain, in fact, has so far only agreed to send only food and emergency aid to displaced Iraqis.


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