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U.S. Will Hold ISIS Accountable After Steven Sotloff Slaying: Kerry

Kerry: ISIS, 'Coward Hiding Behind a Mask' Will Pay For Sotloff Killing 1:01

The United States will hold the Islamic jihadists who brutally murdered two American journalists accountable "no matter how long it takes," Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. Kerry condemned the "medieval savagery” of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) following their release Tuesday of video showing the beheading of reporter Steven Sotloff, who had gone missing in Syria a year ago. ISIS also killed American journalist James Foley amid American airstrikes in Iraq last month.

"We've taken the fight to (evil) before, and we’re taking the fight to it today," Kerry said during a ceremony honoring Shaarik Zafar, a Texas lawyer tapped as the State Department’s special representative to Muslim communities.

"When terrorists anywhere around the world have murdered our citizens, the United States held them accountable, no matter how long it took," Kerry added. "And those who have murdered James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria should know that the United States will hold them accountable too, no matter how long it takes."

Kerry said Sotloff’s death was a "punch to the gut" to everyone who tried to bring him home safe.

President Barack Obama earlier condemned the Florida journalist’s death as a "horrific act of violence." Obama said Wednesday that the U.S. will "destroy" the terror network that has seized control of cities and towns in Iraq, although his administration has yet to publicly outline a military strategy.

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— Erik Ortiz