Slain US journalist Sotloff also had Israeli citizenship: Official

A video purportedly showing US journalist Steven Sotloff kneeling next to a masked Islamic State fighter holding a knife in a video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Sept 2, 2014. Mr Sotloff, who was beheaded by ISIS
A video purportedly showing US journalist Steven Sotloff kneeling next to a masked Islamic State fighter holding a knife in a video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Sept 2, 2014. Mr Sotloff, who was beheaded by ISIS militants, also held Israeli citizenship, Israel said on Wednesday, Sept 3, after apparently withholding the information in a bid to stem the risks to the captive. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Mr Steven Sotloff, a United States journalist beheaded by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, also held Israeli citizenship, Israel said on Wednesday after apparently withholding the information in a bid to stem the risks to the captive.

"Cleared for publication: Steven Sotloff was #Israel citizen RIP," tweeted Mr Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

ISIS, an insurgent group active in Syria and Iraq, on Tuesday published footage of Mr Sotloff's execution, which it called retaliation for US air strikes. The video was authenticated by the White House on Wednesday.

Mr Sotloff's death was extensively covered by the Israeli media, which identified the 31-year-old reporter as Jewish and an occasional contributor having withheld such observations since ISIS announced he could be killed two weeks ago. "We refused to acknowledge any relationship with him in case it was dangerous for him," said Mr Avi Hoffman, editor of the Jerusalem Report magazine, which had published Mr Sotloff's work.

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, quoting a former fellow captive, said Mr Sotloff had kept his Judaism a secret from the Islamist insurgents, pretending he was sick when he fasted for the Yom Kippur holiday.

Israeli media reports said the US-born Mr Sotloff immigrated to Israel in 2005 and studied at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private college near Tel Aviv.

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the United States will not be "intimidated" by ISIS.

Condemning the "horrible act of violence," Mr Obama said Washington's goal is for ISIS to "no longer pose a threat" to the region.

However, this will "take time" and depends on close cooperation with partners in the region, he said.

Comments