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Journalist's family claims Syrian opposition fighters sold him to IS

A spokesman for the family of an American journalist beheaded by IS says Syrian opposition fighters sold the man to the militant group
Islamic State militants have released two videos showing the beheading of two journalists in recent weeks (AA)

A spokesman for the family of an American journalist beheaded by Islamic State militants, claims the family has information that he was sold by moderate Syrian opposition fighters to the terror group.

Barak Barfi, a representative for the family of Steven Sotloff, said moderate Syrian opposition fighters sold the 31-year-old journalist to IS for $25,000 to $50,000. 

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest gave a noncommittal answers to the questions raised by Barfi, but said the FBI is currently investigating the claim.

"As it relates to the specifics of this matter, based on the information that has been provided to me, I don’t believe that is accurate," Josh Earnest said at the White House press briefing. 

"So this is something that they’re looking into all aspects of this, including how Mr. Sotloff may have come into the hands of ISIL," Earnest said referring to Islamic State by its former name.

Barfi told CNN on Tuesday that sources on the ground told the family that Sotloff had just crossed the Syrian border when rebels who were “supposedly moderate” stopped his group.

However, Earnest said the Islamic State is the only group to be held responsible for the killing as they claimed responsibility for the brutal beheading. 

As the US supports and plans to give additional support to the moderate opposition in Syria, these latest claims may fan the flames of criticism against the Obama administration. 

Prior to Sotloff’s killing, IS militants released a video on the Internet that showed the beheading of another American journalist, James Foley.

Sotloff was shown in the video that captured Foley’s murder. In that recording, a militant said that Sotloff would be killed if the US does not stop strikes against the group in Iraq.  

In Sotloff's video that was also released on the Internet, the group threatens to kill British national David Haines if the UK does not stop cooperating with the US against the insurgent group.