US journalist beheading: John Kerry calls Steven Sotloff's killers 'evil'
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that the killers of journalist Steven Sotloff were 'evil'. He also said that there were no words to express the sorrow that they were feeling for the family.
Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that the killers of journalist Steven Sotloff were 'evil'. He also said that there were no words to express the sorrow that they were feeling for the family.
He posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter -
“Steven Sotloff, brave journalist, his reporting was as empathetic as his killers are evil. No words to express sorrow we feel for his family.”
In another post he said - “Barbarity, sadly, isn't new to our world. Neither is evil. We've taken the fight to it before, and we're taking the fight to it today.”
Steven Sotloff: brave journalist/his reporting was as empathetic as his killers are evil. No words to express sorrow we feel for his family.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) September 3, 2014
Barbarity, sadly, isn't new to our world. Neither is evil. We've taken the fight to it before, and we're taking the fight to it today.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) September 3, 2014
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 3, 2014
Following is the full text of Kerry's press release:
Yesterday, the world bore witness again to the unfathomable brutality of ISIL terrorist murderers when we saw Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who left home in Florida to tell the story of brave people in the Middle East, taken from us in an act of medieval savagery by a coward hiding behind a mask.
There are no words strong enough to express the sorrow we feel for his family, particularly his mother, whose heartbreaking video plea spoke to every single parent who has ever worried about a son or daughter who goes to dangerous places to do the work they love.
This young man was a driven and courageous journalist, reporting from places like Syria, Libya, and Egypt. Steven Sotloff's reporting was as empathetic as his killers are evil. He focused on the stories of average people trapped in war, and documented their day-in and day-out struggle for dignity. Like Martha Gellhorn, he chronicled humanity in the face of inhumanity, and he told the story of enormous generational events as if they were happening to someone you knew from your own life.
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. 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.
Barbarity, sadly, isn't new to our world. Neither is evil. We've taken the fight to it before, and we're taking the fight to it today. When terrorists anywhere around the world have murdered our citizens, the United States held them accountable, no matter how long it took. And those who have murdered James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria should know that the United States will hold them accountable too, no matter how long it takes.
Meanwhile, the US today said a disturbing video showing beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by dreaded terror group ISIS is authentic, as President Barack Obama warned that "our reach is long and justice will be served".
The Islamic State militants released the video yesterday. Sotloff is the second American journalist to be executed by by ISIS in two weeks.
"The US intelligence community has analysed the recently released video. And has reached the judgement that it is authentic," said Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, as per PTI.
In the video, Sotloff kneels in the desert, dressed in an orange prison-style jumpsuit. A masked "executioner" lords over him, wielding a knife.
ISIS blames President Barack Obama's decision to conduct airstrikes against the militant group in Iraq for the killing.
The Islamic State has thrived and mutated during the civil war in Syria. It swept into Iraq in June, seizing large swaths of the country's Sunni-dominated northern and western provinces.
Obama ordered targeted airstrikes in Iraq to begin in early August after ISIS fighters began targeting ethnic Yazidis and launching attacks toward the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil.
Calling Sotloff a "devoted and courageous journalist", Obama described his death as a "horrific act of violence".
Obama did not give a timeline for deciding on a strategy to go after the extremist group's operations in Syria.
"It'll take time to roll them back," he said, before vowing that the US would not forget the "terrible crime against these two fine young men," adding "our reach is long and justice will be served."
He said the US will not be intimidated by Islamic State militants and will build a coalition to "degrade and destroy" the group.
A video of another journalist, James Foley's execution was released last month.
The executioner appears to be the same person. The location of the two killings also appears to be similar.
"I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State," the executioner says in the second video. "Just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."
At the end, the video threatens the life of a British captive, just as the Foley video threatened Sotloff's life.
The SITE Intelligence group says there's no question the same masked fighter appears in both videos.
Following Foley's death, the British ambassador to the United States said that experts in his country were close to identifying his killer. He has not yet been named.
With PTI inputs