Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences Thursday night to the family of slain American reporter Steven Sotloff, and said that the young journalist was killed by members of the extremist group Islamic State because he was seen as a symbol of the West.

“I wish to send my condolences to the family of Steven Sotloff, who was brutally murdered at the hands of Islamic State killers,” Netanyahu said at a police ceremony.

“Steven was killed because he was seen by these murderous terrorists as a symbol of the West, the same culture that extremist Islam wishes to annihilate,” he said.

The prime minister added that extremist Islam sees the Jewish state, the United States and the free world as “partners in liberal democracy, values that it wishes would disappear from the world.”

Sotloff was Jewish, and held dual American-Israeli citizenship.

“Most of the world now understands, much better than in the past, that threats to Israel are the same threats facing other countries, and those who don’t nip these threats in the bud will find them at the end of the day in their homes,” Netanyahu said.

“We are fighting the same war,” the prime minister told international delegations of SWAT officers who had arrived in Israel for the ceremony honoring Israel’s elite police unit Yamam, before thanking the Israeli officers for their dedication and service.

Sotloff, a veteran journalist who was beheaded by the Islamic State terrorist organization this week in a graphic video released online, also held Israeli citizenship, it was revealed after his death.