Islamic State (IS) militants claim that a US female hostage, Kayla Jean Mueller, has been killed in a Jordanian air strike in Syria.
The group provided no other proof for the claim beyond pictures of the alleged site of the air strike, in Raqqa, the group’s stronghold in Syria.
A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Mueller, 26, first came to the Turkish/Syrian border in 2012 to work with refugees.
She was abducted while working in Aleppo, Syria the following year.
The IS statement said she was killed in the building where she was being held. It did not provide images of a body.
If her death is confirmed, she would be the fourth American to die while being held by IS. Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig were beheaded by the group.
There are many who have raised doubts about Islamic State’s claim that Kayla Mueller was killed in a coalition strike in Raqqa – in an attack in which none of its own fighters died, it says.
Saying a Western hostage has been killed by Jordan is being seen by some as an attempt to take the wind out of the sails of this renewed Jordanian resolve to fight the militants. And Jordan agrees with that.
Jordan dismissed the statement as a bluff, saying that ISIS has provided no proof of Mueller’s death, and is lying about either the fact or manner of her death. American officials also said they had seen no evidence that Mueller was killed.
Additionally, a Jordanian official spoke to news outfits regarding the report, being “highly skeptical”, describing it as an obvious ploy to weaken morale in the U.S. and Jordan, going as far to claim that ISIS is simply lying about it.
Unfortunately the doubts about the veracity of the Islamic State claim will provide little comfort to Kayla Mueller’s family and friends.