We’ll follow IS to the gates of hell, US Vice-President Joe Biden says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 September, 2014, 9:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 September, 2014, 9:26pm

US Vice-President Joe Biden said America would follow "to the gates of hell" the terrorists who posted videos showing the beheading of two journalists.

Biden said on Wednesday that the Islamic State militant group responsible for beheading James Foley and Steven Sotloff would not intimidate the United States.

"The American people are so much stronger, so much more resolved than any enemy can fully understand," Biden said at the Portsmouth naval shipyard in the state of Maine.

"As a nation, we're united. And when people harm Americans, we don't retreat, we don't forget," he said.

An Islamic State videotape showing the murder of Sotloff was broadcast on Tuesday, two weeks after the same group released a video showing Foley's killing.

"We take care of those who are grieving and when that's finished, they should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice," Biden said, his voice rising to a near shout.

"Because hell is where they'll reside."

Biden, a potential 2016 Democratic candidate for president, has used "gates of hell" before, invoking it in an October 2012 vice- presidential debate when talking about the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Foley was from the state of New Hampshire and Sotloff attended university there, bringing their killings close to home for many in attendance at Biden's speech. The shipyard employs many New Hampshire residents.

US President Barack Obama employed more restrained language in making a similar point to Biden.

"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," Obama said in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

Additional reporting by McClatchy-Tribune