Obama vows to punish Sotloff slayers; UK holds emergency meet

US President Barack Obama has vowed to punish the Sunni militants whose videotaped beheadings of two American journalists he said had ''repulsed'' the world.

After Islamic State militants released a video on Monday showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, Obama warned, "Our reach is long and justice will be served."

Another US journalist, James Foley, was similarly murdered last month, and reportedly by the same masked killer (See: West aghast as Islamic Militants video beheading of US scribe).

Separately, the UK held a meeting of its emergency Cobra committee after IS threats to kill a British hostage, who was also shown in the latest video.

US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said intelligence agents had "analysed the recently released video showing US citizen Sotloff and has reached the judgment that it is authentic".

Speaking in Estonia, Obama said the beheading was a "horrific act of violence and we cannot begin to imagine the agony everyone who loves Steven is feeling right now. Our country grieves with them".

He added, "Whatever these murderers think they will achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed.

"They have failed because, like people round the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve.

"Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, that our reach is long and that justice will be served."

According to a BBC reporter, the new video appears to show the same militant with an English accent who killed Foley.

Obama said the US strategy was to "try to ensure ISIL is not an ongoing threat to the region". Islamic State is also often referred to as ISIL or ISIS.

But Obama warned such a strategy would take time and effort.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs the two American beheadings were "utterly abhorrent and barbaric", adding, "We will not waver in our aim of defeating terrorism."

UK Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said, "We are doing everything we can to reassure the family of the British hostage who was shown in the video."