Shirley Sotloff, the mother of American journalist Steven Sotloff who is being held by Islamic rebels in Syria, makes a direct appeal to his captors to release him in this still image from a video released August 26, 2014. REUTERS/AL-ARABIYA
The family of Steven Sotloff, the second apparent beheading victim of the Islamic State, issued on Tuesday a statement saying they believe that the video just released showing his decapitation is authentic.
Barak Barfi, the spokesman of the family, said in a statement, "The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time," quoted The Sydney Morning Herald.
According to the daily, Shirley Sotloff, the mother of the Time and Foreign Policy magazines contributor, appealed last week to IS to spare the life of her son.
"I am sending this message to you, Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi al-Quraisi al-Hussaini, the caliph of the Islamic State. I am Shirley Sotloff. My son Stephen is in your hands ... You, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life," Shirley begged.
Similar to the James Foley beheading, Sotloff - who wore an orange jumpsuit - said he was paying the price for the air strikes on IS targets in Iraq by the Obama-led US government.
Jihadist John, the beheader of Foley who has a British accent, appears to be the same person who wielded the knife that decapitated Foley in the Aug 19 video which showed similar desert. British intelligence agencies have identified John as Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a former British rapper.
John said in the new video, "I'm back Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State ... So just as your missies continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."
While there is a theory among some intelligence officials that the two beheadings were done on the same day, it appears otherwise because John has a small beard and some hair on his head in the Sotloff beheading video, while he was clean shaven and almost bald in the Foley beheading video.
The US National Security Council spokesperson, Bernadette Meehan, said the American intelligence community is working to determine if the Sotloff beheading video is authentic. "If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," she said.
The 31-year-old Sotloff disappeared in Syria in August 2013. He resurfaced in the Foley beheading video two weeks ago.
Here is the video of Sotloff's mother which has gone viral with more than 80,000 hits.
The New York Times