Islamic State Beheading Victim Steven Sotloff Was Israeli Citizen
JNS.org – The Islamic State terrorist group on Tuesday released a video showing the beheading of American-Jewish journalist Steven Sotloff. The Israeli Foreign Ministry revealed on Wednesday that Sotloff also held Israeli citizenship.
A video released in August showed the Islamic State’s beheading of American journalist James Foley. In the new video, obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group, the 31-year-old Sotloff is seen in the desert bound and held at knifepoint by a terrorist dressed in black.
“I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State,” the terrorist says in the video, citing American airstrikes on Iraq and warning that “just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”
The White House on Wednesday confirmed the authenticity of the video.
To protect Sotloff, his Jewish identity and Israeli citizenship had been under a gag order before the execution. A Miami native, he made aliyah in 2008 to pursue an undergraduate degree at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya. Kidnapped in August 2013 while reporting on the Syrian civil war, he pretended to be sick in order to fast for Yom Kippur that year.
“He told them he was ill and didn’t want to eat, even though they brought us eggs that day,” one of Sotloff’s fellow captives told told Yedioth Ahronoth. “It looked like he was praying in a hidden way towards Jerusalem. He noted what way the Muslims were praying in and changed his direction slightly.”
Ilene Prusher, Sotloff’s editor at the Jerusalem Report in 2011 and 2012, told the Times of Israel. “He was an excellent journalist, and he filed great work. He was our only guy who was filing [from the region], and he was filing for a bunch of different places… In addition to covering Libya, he was covering Arab uprisings. I felt like he really cared about it, he thought it was extremely important. He was very conscientious, enterprising and brave.”