Though unsubstantiated, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed on Friday that a female U.S. hostage, named as Kayla Jean Mueller, was killed in during a bombing raid on Syrian targets by the Jordanian military.
As the Guardian reports:
A statement posted on a website sometimes used by Isis fighters and their supporters said that Kayla Mueller, 26, had been killed during a bombing raid by Jordanian planes on the Syrian city of Raqqa early on Friday.
The statement said that the building in which Mueller was being held was partly destroyed during Friday prayers. It included several pictures of a damaged building complex, but the claim that Mueller had been killed could not be independently verified.
The Isis communique used Mueller’s full name and included her US contact details, which had not been made public by the media at the family’s request.
State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said she could not confirm the report, but said that “a number of Americans” were being held by Isis.
Mueller, originally from Prescott, Arizona, was allegedly kidnapped by ISIS fighters in August 2013 after leaving a hospital run by the Spanish branch of Medecins San Frontieres in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
In the statement posted to social media, those appearing to speak on behalf ISIS said that nobody but Mueller was killed in the attack, stating, "The criminal crusader coalition planes targeted sites outside Raqqa city today at noon time while people were performing Friday prayers... The raids continued on the same site for more than an hour. God has disappointed their endeavours and foiled their plot by not hitting any jihadi man thank God."
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According to the Associated Press:
The IS statement could not be independently verified but it appeared on a militant website commonly used by IS and was also distributed by IS-affiliated Twitter users.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said Jordan was looking into the claim.
"But as a first reaction, we think it's illogical and we are highly skeptical about it," he said. "How could they identify a Jordanian warplane ... in the sky? What was the American lady doing in a weapons warehouse?"
"It's part of their criminal propaganda. They have lied that our pilot is alive and tried to negotiate, claiming he is alive while they had killed him weeks before," al-Momani added.
Despite not knowing the veracity of Friday's claims, the tensions surrounding the U.S.-led war on ISIS have intensified following the release of a video earlier this week showing the execution a Jordanian pilot and Jordan's subsequent retribution which included the execution of two alleged ISIS allies and new airstrikes that began on Thursday. As Common Dreams reported on Thursday, the threat of wider war continues to increase as the bombing raids continue, ground battles drag on, and escalations flourishing on all sides.