A video showing the beheading of a man that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham claims is a missing American journalist also threatens a second man believed to be a journalist with South Florida ties with the same fate if President Barack Obama doesn't stop airstrikes in Iraq.
The first part of the video shows a man believed to be James Wright Foley, a freelance journalist who was kidnapped while reporting in Syria two years ago, reciting threats against the United States before he is executed by an ISIS militant.
In the video, ISIS also claims they are holding a second journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff. The video shows an apparent ISIS militant standing beside next to the man identified as Sotloff, saying his life depends on Obama's decisions.
Sotloff grew up in Miami and went to the University of Central Florida. He’s reportedly been held by kidnappers for more than a year. His last tweet from his account was on August 3, 2013. A few days before that, he tweeted that he had been in the city of Antakya, near the Turkish border.
As reports of the video began to come out Tuesday, his friends were holding out hope for Sotloff.
“Everyone is scared right now,” said Emerson Lotzia, a college friend of Sotloff’s. “No one really knows what to think of this situation, because we never really thought that we would ever have one of our friends in this situation.”
While ISIS said it might spare Sotloff’s life if Obama withdrew U.S. forces, forensic psychologist Dr. Harley Stock said that’s an unlikely deal and the U.S. and ISIS will each stand firm with no room to negotiate.
“They’re never going to deal with us, because if they negotiate with us, their followers will see them as weak,” Stock said. “So, from both sides, it’s not going to happen.”
Obama hasn’t commented on the video yet, but was briefed on the situation on Air Force One Tuesday. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden issued the following statement on the video:
"We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL. 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."