UPDATE: U.S. officials were able to confirm that the video is authentic.
“For so many who worked so long to bring Steven and the other Americans home safely, this was not how the story should’ve ended,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “It’s a punch to the gut. The U.S. government has used every military, diplomatic and intelligence tool we have, and we always will. Our special operations forces bravely risked a military operation to save these lives, and we’ve reached out diplomatically to everyone and anyone who might be able to help. That effort continues, and our prayers remain- as they always are- with the families of all hostages who remain trapped in Syria today.”
This summer, several dozen of the most elite U.S. commandos flew to Syria but could not find the hostages, a U.S. official told CNN.
President Obama says the United States “will not be intimidated” by the killers.
Several news organizations across the globe are reporting that American hostage Steven Sotloff has been executed by terrorists.
According to the Site Intelligence Monitoring Service, the Islamic State has released a video that claims to show the beheading of Steven Sotloff.
The terror group published a video titled “A second message to America,” and showed journalist Steven Sotloff being beheaded.
According to CNN, Sotloff speaks to the camera before he is killed, saying he is “paying the price” for U.S. intervention.
The masked ISIS figure in the video speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama, telling him, “Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”
The video also threatens the life of a British captive, David Haines.
At this time, the White House could not confirm the authenticity of the video
Sotloff, 31, disappeared while reporting in Syria in August of 2013.
However, his family kept the news a secret, saying they feared he would be harmed if they went public.
Last month, ISIS released a video, depicting the beheading of another American journalist, James Foley.
In that video, the group warned that Sotloff would meet the same fate unless the United States ended air strikes against them in Iraq.
Last week, Sotloff’s mother, Shirley Sotloff, released a video pleading with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi not to kill her son.
“Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson,” she said. “He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak.”