The fate of another U.S. journalist held captive in Syria remained in the hands of ISIS militants on Wednesday.
Steven Sotloff was seen at the end of a video which showed the beheading of James Foley.
ISIS leaders threatened that Sotloff would be killed next if the U.S. does not end military operations in Iraq.
Sotloff and I were classmates at a school in Connecticut in the late 90s.
I knew Sotloff had been in the Middle East for years working as a freelance journalist, but like most Americans, I didn’t know, until yesterday that he had been held hostage for more than a year in Syria.
Video released of the beheading of James Foley also showed Steven Sotloff on his knees with an ISIS leader standing over him, vowing to kill him unless the U.S. ends military operations in Iraq.
The 31-year-old Miami native, and former journalism student at the University of Central Florida had been in the region for years.
One friend took to Twitter to say Sotloff lived in Yemen, spoke Arabic and deeply loved the Islamic world.
He covered big stories like the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and the struggles faced by millions of Syrian refugees.
He wrote for Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor and World Affairs Journal, which released a statement describing Sotloff as “an honest and thoughtful journalist who strives to understand the story from local perspectives.”
They also called him courageous.
It was believed Sotloff was kidnapped on Aug. 4, 2013 near the Turkish-Syrian border.
Just days before his capture, he posted on his Facebook page that he was pepper sprayed in the face and thrown to the ground by riot police in Turkey.
He said he was OK and wrote that the moral of the story was don’t take pictures of police in action.
It was believed the details of his kidnapping were kept quiet by family members in hopes that he would be released safely.
Sotloff also had interests here at home.
Pictures on social media showed him posing with rapper Rick Ross and tweeting about his beloved Miami Heat.
His last tweet before being kidnapped talked about the impact Greg Oden would have with the Heat next season.
The president made a statement today condemning the beheading of journalist James Foley.
He made no mention of Steven Sotloff and said the U.S. had no plans to stop air strikes in Iraq.