- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2014

Al-Jazeera has retracted a controversial story it published last week that questioned the authenticity of the videos that showed the execution of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, chalking it up to a “Hollywood” fabrication to provoke war.

When accessing the link to the story, deemed by many online commentators as offensive and insensitive, an error page now appears, Al Arabiya News reported. Al-Jazeera English later posted a retraction on its website that called the post “inaccurate.”

The story had suggested that Foley likely fabricated the execution video, despite confirmations from the U.S. government that the video was real, and that his masked executioner did “not have the features of common jihadist figures, but he was rather similar to a Hollywood actor,” Al Arabiya reported.

The Al-Jazeera report had also claimed that a review of the video in slow motion showed that the beheading hadn’t produced any blood.

The network said in a statement Saturday: “In respect to families of the victims, and as we share their grief, Al-Jazeera Arabic’s website 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,” translated by Al Arabiya.

The statement also said Al-Jazeera wanted to take the opportunity to “reiterate Al-Jazeera[‘s] previous position in condemning the kidnapping of the two journalists and condemning their killing as a heinous crime,” Al Arabiya reported.

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