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President Obama Reacts to Beheading of Second American Journalist
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President Obama Reacts to Beheading of Second American Journalist

Summary: A second American journalist was beheaded in a video released on Tuesday by Islamic State militants. President Obama warns the group that appropriate action will be taken in response to their brutal actions.

The Huffington Post reports that on Wednesday, President Obama stated the United States would not be intimidated by Islamic State militants after they brutally beheaded an American journalist on video and aired it for the world to see. Obama stated that America will build a coalition to “degrade and destroy” this group.


Whereas the president didn’t give a timeline for going after the group, he did explain “It’s going to take time for us to be able to roll them back.”

Two weeks ago, the group, known as ISIS, beheaded James Foley, an American journalist, on video. On Tuesday, the United States verified the authenticity of another video that recorded the beheading of Steven Sotloff, another American journalist.

Clearly angered by the terror group’s actions, Obama warned that the United States would not forget “the terrible crime against these two fine young men.” He continued, “We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists. And among those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.” Vice President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would follow the extremists “to the gates of hell.”

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Biden said, “As a nation, we’re united. And when people harm Americans, we don’t retreat, we don’t forget. We take care of those who’re grieving and when that’s finished they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they’ll reside.”

John Kerry, Secretary of State, remarked, “barbarity, sadly, isn’t new to our world. Neither is evil.”

The United States’ attacks on the group could have worldwide implications. Obama stated that before the United States moves into the area, “It’s very important from my perspective that when we send our pilots in to do a job, that we know that this is a mission that’s going to work, that we’re very clear on what our objectives are, what our targets are. We’ve made the case to Congress and we’ve made the case to the American people, and we’ve got allies behind us so that it’s not just a one-off, but it’s something that over time is going to be effective.”

In response to the video of Sotloff’s beheading, in which a masked militant declared “our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people” if the United States does not cease airstrikes against the Islamic State group, Obama noted that the airstrikes have been effective in blunting the militant threat and that he will battle the “barbaric and ultimately empty vision” that the Islamic State represents. His plan is to consult with NATO allies in a summit in Wales this week to determine a strategy to combat the Islamic State. “Our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so that it’s no longer a threat—not just to Iraq, but also the region and to the United States.” ISIL is another acronym for the group.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves stated, “We see ISIS as a serious threat to all of us, and stand together with the United States and our allies on this issue.”

Sotloff was a 31-year-old freelance journalist for the Time and Foreign Policy magazines. He disappeared a year ago in Syria and was missing until he appeared in a video that showed the beheading of Foley. He was dressed in an orange jumpsuit. In the video, he was threatened with death unless the U.S. stopped its airstrikes on the Islamic State.

On Tuesday, a video titled “A Second Message to America” depicted Sotloff again in a jumpsuit before he was beheaded by a fighter with the Islamic State.

Phillip Hammond, the British Foreign Secretary, told the BBC that the masked jihadist with a British accent appeared to be the same person as in the Foley video. In Tuesday’s video, the group threatens to kill another hostage, a British citizen.

Sotloff’s mother, Shirley Sotloff, begged the extremists to release her son, stating that he was an “innocent journalist” and an “honorable man” who “has always tried to help the weak.”

Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, said it is believed that a “few” Americans are being held hostage by the group. Although she did not give details, a family representative stated that one hostage is a 26-year-old woman who was kidnapped while doing humanitarian aid work in Syria.

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