The Islamic State (IS) insurgent group is threatening to behead a journalist identified as Steven Joel Sotloff, who attended the University of Central Florida (UCF) as a journalism major in 2002-2004.
The group battling for control of Iraq released a gruesome video on Tuesday purporting to show American journalist James Foley being beheaded. Another man, identified as Sotloff, also appears in the video. Both Sotloff and Foley disappeared while covering the war in Syria.
Sotloff worked for Time magazine and other news organizations and disappeared in Syria last August. His last tweet on his Twitter page is from August 3, 2013. His Twitter profile said he is a “stand-up philosopher from Miami. Currently in Libya.”
“We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of US citizen James Foley by ISIL,” said National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden. IS was formerly known as ISIL or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. 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. We will provide more information when it is available,” she added.
UCF spokeswoman Zenaida Kotala said a student named Steven Sotloff attended the school from 2002 to 2004 and majored in journalism. There’s no record of his graduating, Kotala said. Sotloff’s Facebook page said he attended UCF and lists his hometown as Miami.
He posted the following quote from George Kennan, former diplomat, as among his favorites: “We Americans like our adversaries wholly inhuman; all powerful, omniscient, monstrously efficient, unhampered by any serious problems of their own, and bent only on schemes for our destruction. Whatever their real nature, we always persist in seeing them this way. It is the reflection of a philosophic weakness — of an inability to recognize any relativity in matters of friendship and enmity.”