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September 3rd, 2014
06:09 AM ET

ISIS Beheading Video is Real, U.S. Says

A video showing American journalist Steven Sotloff being beheaded by terror group ISIS is authentic, U.S. officials said early Wednesday.

The Islamic militant group released the video Tuesday.

It shows the second beheading of an American journalist in two weeks, and blames President Barack Obama's decision to conduct airstrikes against the militant group in Iraq for the killing.

"The U.S. intelligence community has analyzed the recently released video ... and has reached the judgment that it is authentic," said Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council. "We will continue to provide updates as they are available,"

In the video, Sotloff kneels in the desert, dressed in an orange prison-style jumpsuit. A masked "executioner" lords over him, wielding a knife.

The journalist speaks; the executioner speaks.

And then the horrific happens: the victim is beheaded.

"It is almost the exact same choreography," said Peter Neumann, a professor at King's College London, comparing ISIS videos showing the deaths of journalists Sotloff and James Foley. A video of Foley's execution was released last month.

The executioner appears to be the same person. The location of the two killings also appears to be similar.

Neumann suspects they took place in or around the Syrian city of Raqqa, one of the safest areas for ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: ISIS • Obama • Steven Sotloff
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