Online sources linked to ISIS announced Friday that 26-year-old American aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller, of Arizona, died in Jordanian airstrikes in Syria.
Though President Obama confirmed the existence of a young American hostage to reporters on Monday, Mueller’s identity had been carefully protected by her family and the U.S. government.
She had been an employee of the charity Support to Life, helping war refugees in Turkey, before falling into ISIS’ hands in 2013. Mere months before, she was profiled by Prescott, Arizona’s Daily Courier during a visit to her hometown.
Official sources have not yet confirmed the accuracy of the claim, but the news release matches reports of attacks on ISIS targets in recent days.
The purported ISIS release wrote that the attacks came during noontime Friday prayers, striking a site outside the city of Raqqa for over an hour. According to the statement, “no mujahedeen were struck, thanks to God.”
The current round of airstrikes in Syria is the latest since ISIS announced the death of Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh. The revelation of his fate on Tuesday led Jordan to recommit to participating in the anti-ISIS coalition, which it had suspended since Kasasbeh’s disappearance in late December. (RELATED: Jordanians Demand Blood In Avenging Pilot’s Death)
The woman was reportedly ISIS’ only remaining American hostage. Analysts have questioned the group’s tactical use of hostages, whom it has tended to discard before extracting ransoms or other goals. Open-source terror analyst J.M. Berger wrote on Friday that the anti-ISIS coalition should be cautious of “reacting to ISIS propaganda exactly as ISIS intends.”
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