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Pinecrest journalist Steven Sotloff's family fear extremists could disrupt religious service

Law enforcement prepares to highten security at Pinecrest Temple Beh Am

PINECREST, Fla. – In July, Steven Sotloff's 28-year-old sister shared a friend's status on Facebook.

It was a video of an anti-Semitic pro-Hamas rally at the Torch of Freedom monument in downtown Miami. Lauren Sotloff said on Facebook that she thought it was "sick!"

And even more outrageous, she said, was that the hate had made it from the Middle East to "our backyard." In the video, a protester made a threat that he paired with obscene signs.

"I'm gonna kill you [expletive] --- you and all Israelis," the unidentified man said.

A video of her brother's beheading was released Tuesday. She will mourn his death publicly Friday at a synagogue in Pinecrest. Relatives told Pinecrest police that they feared that extremists could disrupt the religious service.

Law enforcement sources said early Thursday morning that the family or the public has nothing to worry about. Miami-Dade County police and other police departments were working with Pinecrest police and the temple to increase security.

FBI agents working out of Miami have said they were looking to catch more locals who may be considering supporting Islamic State militants in the Middle East from U.S. soil.

The public service is a shift from the secrecy his family maintained about the kidnapping. To protect him, Sotloff's sister, dad, Art Sotloff, and mom, Shirley Sotloff, also known as Shirley Pulwer, kept his kidnapping a secret. On August, 20th, Melissa Hoff Roth, a relative posted on Facebook: "ISIS has him [Sotloff] and has for a year now."

Her husband, Frank Castle, posted on Facebook early Thursday morning that the family welcomed the public to join them to celebrate Sotloff's life and mourn the brave journalist.

On the invitation that Castle posted after midnight, there was a picture of Sotloff wearing a Miami Heat hat. Sotloff's religious public service is set to begin at 1 p.m., Friday at Temple Beth Am, 5950 SW 88 St., in Pinecrest.