The parents of a US hostage who Islamic State (IS) militants say was killed by a Jordanian air strike in Syria say they are “hopeful” she is still alive. The parents of captured aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller urged IS to make contact with them, and to treat Ms Mueller as a “guest”.
White House officials say they have seen no proof she was killed. IS released images of a ruined building where it says she died, but no images of the aid worker herself. It said that Jordanian jets had bombed the building on the outskirts of their Syrian stronghold, Raqqa. Jordan, which carried out air strikes on IS targets in Syria on Thursday, dismissed the reports as propaganda. 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.
Jordan has increased its participation in the bombing of the militant stronghold since one of its pilots was shown being burned to death by IS militants, and officials in Jordan insist they will keep up the pressure. 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. Claiming the coalition killed Ms Mueller could also provide a convenient solution to Islamic State’s problem of what to do with a female hostage, one they might not want to be shown killing in the same barbaric way as they have others. Unfortunately, the doubts about the veracity of the Islamic State claim will provide little comfort to Kayla Mueller’s family and friends (BBC News).