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Back-to-back display killings of journalists in Syria unprecedented

The following is a CPJ blog post by Frank Smyth/CPJ Senior Adviser for Journalist Security

The apparent back-to-back murders of two American freelance journalists by the same group are unprecedented in CPJ's history. The beheadings on camera in a two-week period of first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff appear to be an acceleration of a pattern--dating at least to Daniel Pearl's killing in 2002--of criminal and insurgent groups displaying the murders of journalists to send a broad message of terror.

Despite heartfelt pleas from their families including each reporter's mother, Islamic State militants operating in Syria and northern Iraq beheaded first Foley, in a video released August 19, and then apparently Sotloff in a video released today, as a grisly way of telegraphing the group's strength and influence to the world. As of late today, U.S. officials had not confirmed the Sotloff video's authenticity.

Click here to read the full story on CPJ's site.

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