A statement purportedly from the Islamic State group claims an American hostage was killed in a Jordanian airstrike Friday on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, where she was reportedly being held. The statement identified the hostage as 26-year-old aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller, according to the Associated Press.
Reuters reports that Mueller, who was taken hostage from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in August 2013, was the last-known American hostage held by Islamic State.
On Tuesday, a video published by the Islamic State showed Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. A week before the video was released, Islamic State militants threatened to kill al-Kasasbeh unless Jordan released Sajida al-Rishawa, an Iraqi woman convicted in a 2005 suicide bombing plot. Jordanians demanded proof the pilot was alive, which they never received. Amman’s state TV reported on Tuesday that al-Kasasbeh was killed a month ago.
The video enraged Jordanians and King Abdullah II, who was in Washington on a visit. While visiting U.S. capital, Abdullah condemned the militants’ actions and cut his trip short to return to Amman where he vowed a “relentless” war against the Islamic State. Jordan launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, stating on state TV, “This is just the beginning and you shall know who the Jordanians are.”
Islamic State’s statement that the airstrikes killed the the American hostage appeared on a militant website commonly used by the group, but could not be independently verified. In a briefing Friday afternoon, the State Department addressed the issue and said it could not corroborate the statement.
This post will be updated when additional information becomes available.