MIAMI (JTA) — The parents of Steven Sotloff, a Jewish journalist who was beheaded by Islamic State terrorists, said they are glad that the terror group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.
“The Sotloff family is thankful to President Trump, our brave U.S. special forces and all involved intelligence allies for pinpointing and eliminating ISIS leader al-Baghdadi without suffering any U.S. military casualties,” said Shirley Sotloff, reading from a statement on Sunday, as her husband stood beside her in front of their home. “While the victory will not bring our beloved son Steven back to us, it is a significant step in the campaign against ISIS.”
President Donald Trump recalled Sotloff by name, as well as three other American ISIS victims, during his announcement of the death of Baghdadi.
Trump called the Sotloff family following his news conference on Sunday morning.
Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 after crossing into Syria from Turkey and was killed on Sept. 2, 2014. ISIS posted a video showing the beheading. American journalist James Foley had been similarly killed a month earlier by the terrorist group.
Sotloff, 31, was a native of Miami and grandson of Holocaust survivors who held dual Israeli citizenship. He made aliyah in 2005 and studied foreign relations in Herzliya. Sotloff reported from a number of Middle Eastern countries for publications such as Time, the Christian Science Monitor and Foreign Policy. He reportedly was planning to go to Aleppo, Syria, to report on the city’s humanitarian crisis.
Following his death, the family established the 2Lives Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation to support student journalists.