THE LEVANT – An Israeli official confirmed Wednesday that slain American journalist Steven Sotloff was also an Israeli citizen.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson wrote on his personal Twitter feed: “Cleared for publication: Steven Satloff was Israel citizen RIP,” misspelling the journalist’s last name.
There was no further comment from the ministry. Israel’s military censor office cleared the information for publication, suggesting Israel had tried to conceal the news to protect Sotloff, 31.
Sotloff’s Israeli citizenship did not appear to have influenced his fate.
Sotloff, Miami-area native who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, vanished a year ago in Syria and was not seen again until he appeared in the video that showed Foley’s beheading. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against an arid Syrian landscape, Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the Islamic State.
In the video distributed Tuesday and titled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is apparently beheaded by a fighter with the Islamic State, the extremist group that has conquered wide swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq and declared itself a caliphate.
Sotloff’s family could not be reached for comment.
In Israel, friends and colleagues remembered Sotloff as an adventurous man who was fascinated with the Middle East. His death and connection to Israel made top news in the country.