Journalist Killed by ISIS Was Israeli Citizen

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

Steven Sotloff, Hy”d, the U.S. journalist abducted last year in Syria, and beheaded by Islamic State terrorists, Tuesday, also held Israeli citizenship, Israel disclosed on Wednesday, after having apparently withheld the information to reduce risks to the captive.

“Cleared for publication: Steven Sotloff was an Israel citizen Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Yerushalayim, said.

Islamic State on Tuesday published footage of Sotloff’s execution, which it called retaliation for U.S. air strikes. The video was authenticated by the White House on Wednesday. Sotloff’s death was extensively covered by Israeli media, which identified the 31-year-old reporter as Jewish and an occasional contributor, having withheld such observations since Islamic State announced he could be killed two weeks ago.

“We refused to acknowledge any relationship with him in case it was dangerous for him,” said Avi Hoffman, editor of the Jerusalem Report magazine, which had published Sotloff’s work.

A former fellow captive was quoted as saying that Sotloff kept his Judaism a secret from the terrorists, pretending he was sick so he could fast on Yom Kippur without it being noticed.

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