Steven Sotloff 'beheading': Tributes pour in for US journalist who Islamic State militants claim to have killed

The National Journal, who Mr Sotloff wrote for, said he "cannot be silenced" and posted a collection of his work

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The Independent Online

Tributes have poured in for Steven Sotloff, who is believed to have become the second American journalist to be beheaded by Islamic State (IS) militants in as many months.

In a video released by IS today, Mr Sotloff, 31, is dressed in an orange jumpsuit and appears to be killed by a fighter from the group which previously called itself Isis.

The militant claims that he is the same man who beheaded journalist James Foley, 40, last month.

Originally from Miami, Florida, Mr Sotloff studied at the University of Central Florida before he pursued a career in journalism. He would go on to write for publications including Time, Foreign Policy, The National Journal, The Long War Journal  and The Diplomat, as well as speaking on US television networks Fox News and CNN.

As a freelance journalist, Mr Sotloff published articles from Syria, Egypt and Libya. Several focused on the plight of ordinary people attempting to lead their lives in war-torn countries.


Mr Sotloff was last seen in Syria, in August 2013, when it is believed he was abducted close to the border with Turkey near the city of Aleppo.

A spokesman for Mr Sotloff's family, Barak Barfi, has confirmed that the journalist's relatives know of “this horrific tragedy” and said they are “grieving privately.” He added that the family has not been told whether the video is authentic, and do not plan on making any additional comments for the time being.

Steven Sotloff, a US journalist, is also held by Isis (Reuters)

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Tributes to the writer have spoken of his humanity, and his fearless reporting.

Time editor Nancy Gibbs said in a statement that the magazine’s staff are “shocked” and “deeply saddened” by the reports of Mr Sotloff’s death.

“Steven was a valued contributor to TIME and other news organisations, and he gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Josh Polsky, a university friend of Mr Sotloff, fondly remembered the journalist's caring and loyal nature.

“The guy lit up a room. He was always such a loyal, caring and good friend to us,” the New York Times reported him as saying.

In a statement, Foreign Policy magazine said it was saddened by news of Mr Sotloff's death and called him a "brave and talented journalist" whose reporting "showed a deep concern for the civilians caught in the middle of a brutal war."

On Tuesday evening, Mr Sotloff's friends and colleagues had flooded Twitter with messages of respect for the journalist.

Mary Fitzgerald, an Irish journalist based in Libya, praised Mr Sotloff's resilience.

And ABC's International Affairs Correspondent, Hamish MacDonald, described the first time he met Mr Sotloff in "more peacful times."

Meanwhile, the National Journal celebrated Mr Sotloff’s reporting in a piece on their website headlined: “ISIS Can’t Silence Steven Sotloff. Here Are His Stories”.