The family of slain American hostage Steven Sotloff believes ISIS paid as much as $50,000 to rebels who alerted the militant group that the journalist had entered Syria, a spokesman told CNN.
The family had learned from “sources on the ground” that a member of a moderate rebel group reached out to ISIS, Barak Barfi told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Monday.
“Somebody at the border crossing made a phone call to ISIS, and they set up a fake checkpoint with many people,” Barfi said. “Steve and his people that he went in with could not escape.”
Barfi said the tipster was one of “the so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support.”
So how much was the tip worth?
Sotloff’s whereabouts were sold for “something between” $25,000 and $50,000, Barfi said.
Sotloff, a 31-year-old freelance journalist, disappeared during a reporting trip to Syria in August 2013. Barfi said he last spoke to his friend the day he disappeared.
“Minutes before he was kidnapped, he called me from inside Syria to tell me that he was in,” Barfi said.
Sotloff was supposedly turned over because his name was on a list of people responsible for a hospital bombing, his friend said.
“This was false. Activists spread his name around,” Barfi told Cooper.
In fact, “Steve loved the Arab and Islamic world, and he wanted to bring their suffering to the world stage,” Barfi said. “He believed that everybody was created equal, and the people in the Arab and Islamic world weren’t terrorists, they were just people like you and me.”
Source: CNN | Steve Almasy and Holly Yan