Steven Sotloff, a US journalist beheaded by Islamic State (IS) militants, also held Israeli citizenship, Israel said today after apparently withholding the information in a bid to stem the risks to the captive.
President Obama overnight confirmed the authenticity of the video showing the execution of journalist Steven Sotloff by IS and an Israeli spokesman then revealed that Sotloff held dual American-Israeli citizenship.
"Cleared for publication: Steven Sotloff was #Israel citizen RIP," tweeted Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
IS, an insurgent group active in Syria and Iraq, published footage of Sotloff's execution yesterday, which it called retaliation for US air strikes.
The video was authenticated by the White House last night.
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 IS 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.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, quoting a former fellow captive, said 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 Sotloff immigrated to Israel in 2005 and studied at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private college near Tel Aviv.
Morning news break – September 04