Al Jazeera has retracted a controversial article published earlier this week which had suggested that the ISIS videos showing the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were fake.
According to Al Arabiya, the article — published on Al Jazeera Arabic’s website Thursday — had called the executions “unconvincing” and “staged.”
The article reportedly claimed that the clip of Foley's execution had likely been created by the journalist himself.
“Foley was playing the role of champion not the victim only, for he recites a lengthy statement in peerless theatrical performance, and it seems from tracking the movement of his eyes that he was reading a text from an autocue," the article read, per Al Arabiya, adding that the masked executioner “did not have the features of common jihadist figures, but he was rather similar to a Hollywood actor.”
Al Jazeera has since pulled the story from its website.
In a statement Saturday, Al Jazeera Arabic’s managing director Yasser Abu Hilalah said that out of “respect to families of the victims,” the news outlet had decided to “retract an inaccurate article that questioned the legitimacy of Foley and Sotloff's beheading videos after a theory surfaced on a number of American social media sites claiming they were produced as a pretext ahead of a U.S. invasion of Syria.”
“We want to take this as an opportunity to reiterate Al Jazeera's previous position in condemning the kidnapping of the two journalists and condemning their killing as a heinous crime,” he added.
In a statement Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry vowed that the U.S. would hold the murderers of the two journalists “accountable … no matter how long it takes.”