A purported statement by the Islamic State group claimed that an American female hostage was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on Friday on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the militant group's main stronghold.
The statement identified the woman as Kayla Jean Mueller and said she was killed during Muslim prayers - which usually take place around midday on Fridays - in airstrikes that targeted "the same location for more than an hour."
No Islamic State militants were killed in the airstrikes, the statement further claimed.
الرقة تذبح بصمت @Raqqa_Sl
#IS official media outlet "Manbar" announces #US hostage Kayla Jean Mueller,killed in #Jordanian airstrike that targeted #Raqqa #Syria
Here is the Official Statement released by ISIS:
Kayla Mueller worked with Syrian refugees. She touched many people and tried to help them recover from the horror of war and being forced to live in refugee camps.
A man searching for his Syrian family after their refugee camp in Turkey was bombed was reunited with a 6-year-old relative thanks to Prescott resident Kayla Mueller.
After looking frantically for missing family members, he eventually found an 11-year-old girl alive at a hospital, but learned his wife had died, and could not find the boy.
The man turned to Mueller, who works in Turkey with the international humanitarian aid agency Support to Life. He gave her a video image of the boy, and she later found him after he came out of surgery at another hospital.
Mueller spoke Wednesday about her experiences to the Prescott Kiwanis Club, where her father Carl Mueller is a member.
“This story is not rare in Syria,” Mueller said. “This is the reality for Syrians two and a half years on. When Syrians hear I’m an American, they ask, ‘Where is the world?’ All I can do is cry with them, because I don’t know.”
Mueller said after learning more about the situation in Syria, she was drawn to help and finds now she “can’t do enough.”
Mueller said she’s heard of children being hurt by unexploded bombs, women being forced into early marriages, and children being forced to fight for both sides.
Children as young as 8 are working because there’s no access to school, Mueller added, as schools have been targeted by the Syrian government for bombing. People who have lost their homes to the bombs and fighting are living in groups in caves and large businesses, Mueller said.
“Syrians are dying by the thousands, and they’re fighting just to talk about the rights we have,” Mueller said.