Man abducted by ISIS with Sotloff: 'I did my best to save him'

Guide captured by Islamic State recalls being abducted with American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff.

September 17, 2014 10:38
1 minute read.
Steven Sotloff beheading

Steven Sotloff beheading. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Fifteen masked ISIS gunmen jumped out of three cars and captured American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff and his fixer Yosef Abobaker, Abobaker recalled to CNN during an interview this week.

Abobaker said the abduction happened in August 2013 and said that he remains traumatized by the events.

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"I was very angry, and after that I calmed down and was so, so sorry," Abobaker said in an interview held in Turkey. "I put message on Facebook (to) tell his mother I am so sorry.... I did my best to save him.... My feeling is so sorry, like I lost my brother."

"He was nice man and good heart I just wish he can rest in peace now," Abobaker added.

Abobaker told CNN that he had previously worked to help journalists, doing translations and arranging interviews. He had worked with at least 100 other journalists and Sotloff paid him about $80 a day, he said.

Abobaker said after their capture, the two were separated and told to close their eyes. Fifteen days later, Abobaker, who was with his brother and their cousins during the abduction, were freed.

"They ask me, do you know who we are, and I said, yes, I think you are ISIS," Abobaker said. "And they said, yes, we should kill you. You are spy and work with America and CIA and FBI, but we leave you now because you work with (Tawheed), because I have papers.... But if we hear you work with journalist again, we will kill you for sure."

After his release, he continued to work in Turkey and Syria and would hear rumors about Sotloff's location. He heard he was in Aleppo at a textile factory, then moved to an industrial center, and then heard he was in Raqqa.

Abobaker said the United States government never tried to contact him for an interview about the details of the capture.

"No, nobody tried to contact me and I tried to help. Nobody come to me and ask me any questions from the (US) government.... Nobody contact me or ask me about their conditions," Abobaker said in occasionally broken English. "And they can find me. It's easy. But, no, nobody tried to contact me."

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