UK & World News

  • 2 September 2014, 23:06

Sotloff Family Grieving After Hostage 'Killed'

The family of US hostage Steven Sotloff have seen a video which purportedly shows him being beheaded by an Islamic State fighter, and are grieving privately.

Barak Barfi, a family spokesman, also said authorities have not established its authenticity.

He said: "The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time."

Mr Sotloff, 31, was a freelance journalist for Time and Foreign Policy magazines who went missing in Syria.

He was apparently killed by IS in revenge for US airstrikes on the Islamist militant group in Iraq.

His reported death comes two weeks after the release of a video showing the killing of fellow US citizen James Foley and Mr Sotloff being threatened with death.

That led to Mr Sotloff's mother Shirley pleading for her son's life.

A friend of both hostages, Matthew Van Dyke, told Sky News it was time for the US to consider paying ransoms to secure the release of hostages.

IS had reportedly demanded 80m for Mr Foley's release.

But the US - unlike several European countries that have given millions to the terror group to spare their citizens - refused to pay.

Mr Van Dyke told Sky News he hoped the apparent killing was a "wake-up call to Americans", adding: "This is a serious threat".

He went on: "They are executing Americans and videotaping it and we need to do something about that. The US administration needs to get serious about the problem."

Mr Van Dyke said there were more Americans being held by IS and "we need to bring them home".

He said authorities should "re-examine the policy of paying ransoms for prisoner exchanges to at least get these people home and then take on IS and kill them before they get to spend the money."

Mr Van Dyke said the news of Mr Sotloff's reported death was "horrible", adding: "I've lost two friends in two weeks."

He said Mr Sotloff was a "brilliant journalist, hard working and dedicated".

"He knew the dangers but he knew the story needed to be told."

Advertisement