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Steven Sotloff Beheading Strengthens Australia's Role In Iraq; Tony Abbott Approves Of Obama's Reaction

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By Reissa Su | September 4, 2014 6:13 PM EST

If Australia should decide to widen its role in Iraq, the video showing the beheading of another U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff, will "justify" its actions. Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the beheading of Sotloff by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as an act of "pure evil." He condemned the extremist group and called it a "hideous movement."

REUTERS/Australian Defence For
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules crew load supplies of biscuits, water and humanitarian supplies for an airdrop to isolated Iraqi civilians on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force August 13, 2014.

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Reports said foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop has announced Australia has a contingency plan to pull out diplomatic staff in Australia's embassy in Baghdad if the situation in Iraq escalates any further.

The family of the second American journalist captured by ISIS had their worst fears realised when ISIS released a video of Sotloff's purported beheading. The video showed the same setting as the one seen in the beheading of James Foley, the first U.S. journalist executed by the militants.

The masked man in the video spoke with a British accent and told U.S. President Barack Obama and his allies to "back off" and leave the militants alone. He demanded the end of U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq. Sotloff addressed the president and said his life was the price he had to pay for Mr Obama's "foreign policy."

Mr Abbott said ISIS was not only a threat to the Middle East but also to the rest of the world. He went on to say that ISIS "revels in evil, it exalts in evil." The extremist group's actions are enough to justify the involvement of Australia and other countries to spare innocent lives from ISIS' "murderous rage."

The Australian prime minister approved of Mr Obama's reaction to the brutality of the group. Mr Obama had the right "mix of reason and appropriate anger." He gave the U.S. airstrikes credit for the retaking of Mt Sinjar and Ameril previously overrun by ISIS. Mr Abbott said the world has the right to be "absolutely appalled" by the situation in Iraq.

According to reports, the Pentagon has announced the U.S. will deploy more military troops in Baghdad to secure the embassy and other support facilities. Mr Obama has decided to increase personnel by 350, bringing the total number of diplomatic forces to 820. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has called on the Obama government to intensify its war against ISIS after the beheading video of Sotloff. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Australian Defence For / )
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules crew load supplies of biscuits, water and humanitarian supplies for an airdrop to isolated Iraqi civilians on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force August 13, 2014.
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