ISIS claims US hostage killed in Jordanian airstrike
The Islamic State group released a statement on Friday saying a female American hostage held by the group was killed in a Jordanian airstrike in Raqqa, Syria. The claim was made through a media account linked to the group.
The SITE Intelligence Group, who have been following jihadist activities, broke the news.
The US State Department said it could not independently verify the woman’s death. Jordan's Interior Minister Hussein Majali told CNN’s Nic Robertson that the Islamic State’s claim is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
“The failed Jordanian aircraft killed an American female hostage,” said the message on a Twitter account associated with the group according to the translation provided by the organization. “No mujahid was injured in the bombardment, and all praise is due to Allah.”
The CIA told Fox News it is aware of the terror group’s claim and is trying to authenticate it.
The American aid worker has been held by the Islamic State for over a year. The Islamic State had reportedly demanded $6.6 million for the 26-year-old American’s release, according to the Daily Mail.
In their message, the group identified the woman by name, as well as her address in Arizona, apparently to add credibility to its message, the Times reported. She was in northern Syria and “was killed when she was buried beneath the rubble of the building” during the Jordanian raid, according to SITE.
The woman is believed to be the last American hostage being held by the Islamic State since the beheading of Peter Kassig in November, according to Fox News. She was in Syria helping children who had been orphaned or separated from their families in the ongoing civil war. She and a group of other aid workers were captured on different occasions in August 2013. The remainder of the hostages have been released.
The aid worker and her boyfriend disappeared from the city of Aleppo after she drove into the northern town with her Syrian boyfriend. Her colleagues received a proof-of-life video a few months later, showing her wearing a hijab and begging for her life, according to the Times.
If the Islamic State’s claim of her death is confirmed, she would be the first American female to die while held hostage by the group. IS previously executed three other US captives, all of whom were men. The terror network posted videos of the men’s beheadings online.
The Jordanian airstrike was conducted in retaliation for the death of one of its air force pilots who was captured in December. On Tuesday, the Islamic State released a video that purportedly shows Moath al-Kasasbeh, the pilot, being burned alive. The Jordanian government had pleaded with IS to release the hostage in exchange for a captured terrorist.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told CNN that his country promised to strike the Islamic State with “everything we have” when it began the bombing raids Thursday in response to al-Kasasbeh’s immolation death. “This is just a beginning...tens of...fighter jets have struck their hideouts,” the country’s army said in a statement.