British ‘Jihadi John’ suspected of killing Sotloff

A video purportedly showing U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff kneeling next to a masked ISIS fighter.

A video purportedly showing U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff kneeling next to a masked ISIS fighter.

Investigations have commenced to find out if the man in a video that surfaced Tuesday allegedly showing the death of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff is the same man that killed James Foley in another grim video that emerged last month, the Guardian newspaper reported.

While there were similarities between the voice of the man in yesterday’s video and that of the militant in last month’s footage, the figure is largely concealed in black clothing, security sources told the British daily.

British media have speculated about the identity of the man in last month’s video, dubbing him Jihadi John, yet authorities are still trying to identify the individual.

“We are outing a lot into it, using voice recognition technology to try to identify him. I cannot say more than this but I know we are close,” Sir Peter Westmacott, British ambassador to Washington said last month commenting the man who killed James Foley who also spoke in a British accent.

Sotloff’s killer also warned that a British citizen would be next.

“Totally unacceptable”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the world was “outraged” by the reported beheading of Steven Sotloff, Agence France-Presse reported.

“We are all outraged at reports from Iraq about the brutal killing of civilians by ISIL (ISIS), including yesterday’s reported brutal beheading of another journalist,” he said in New Zealand after the video surfaced online.

The clip follows last month’s grim footage which showed the murder of another U.S. journalist, James Foley.

“I strongly condemn all such despicable crimes and I refuse to accept that whole communities can be threatened by atrocity crimes because of who they are or what they believe,” Ban said.

The U.N. chief described the situation in Iraq, where ISIS extremists have seized territory in the north and west of the country, as “abhorrent” and called on religious leaders “to stand up for tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence.”

In the video released on Tuesday, Sotloff, 31, calmly addresses the camera to say he is a victim of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to press on with air strikes in Iraq against the jihadists.

A masked militant with a British accent, possibly the same man shown killing Foley in the first video, then murders him with a knife.

Sotloff, a veteran war reporter well-read on the history and culture of the Middle East, was captured over a year ago while crossing the into Syria from Turkey.

On Tuesday, Ban described ISIS’ reign of terror in Syria and Iraq, in which the jihadists have staged mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions and stonings, as “totally unacceptable.”

The U.N. Human Rights Council this week unanimously agreed to send an emergency mission to Iraq to investigate atrocities in the self-declared Islamic “caliphate” amid reports of ethnic cleansing in minority Christian and Yazidi Kurdish areas.

The United States has conducted air strikes in Iraq in a bid to limit IS gains and protect ethnic minorities, although it has so far ruled out cooperating with the Damascus regime on similar action in Syria.

Germany has agreed to send arms to Iraqi Kurds while Australia is helping transport weapons to the Kurdish fighters and has carried out humanitarian air drops to besieged communities.

Efforts such as the Kurdish weapons drops have not been directly backed by the UN, but Ban gave them tacit approval on Tuesday, saying the activities of IS were a global concern.

“Without addressing this issue through certain means, including some military and counter-terrorist actions, we will just end up allowing these terrorist activities to continue,” he said when pressed on the issue.

 
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