JERUSALEM (AA) – Steven Sotloff, the American journalist purportedly executed by the self-styled Islamic State militant group held Israeli – as well as U.S. – citizenship, Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday, according to an Israeli newspaper.
“An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Sotloff was a dual American-Israeli citizen,” Israeli daily Haaretz reported, without providing further details.
Yedioth Ahronoth, another major Israeli newspaper, reported Wednesday that Israeli authorities had “cleared for publication” the fact that Sotloff “was Jewish” and had “lived in Israel.”
On Tuesday, the militant group released a video claiming to show the beheading of Sotloff, 31, in retaliation for recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
In the video, the executioner also threatens to kill a British captive – who he identified as David Haines – if the U.S. did not halt its attacks.
Sotloff, a freelance journalist, was said to have been kidnapped last year in Syria by the Islamic State.
The video appeared some two weeks after another one that purported to show an Islamic State militant beheading U.S. journalist James Foley.
Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Sotloff had moved to Israeli in 2005, where he studied foreign relations at Israel’s private Interdisciplinary Center.
“Little information regarding his time in Israel is known,” the report asserts.
“After he was captured in Syria, it seems any connection to Israel was deleted from his online presence in a bid to prevent the information reaching his captors,” it adds.
The Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has recently managed to capture large swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory.
Early last month, the U.S. began launching “limited” air strikes in areas of Iraq now controlled by the group.
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