Today we're mourning the tragic loss of aid worker Kayla Mueller
We had been hoping for a miracle here, but on Tuesday the Associated Press reported that 26-year-old American ISIS captive Kayla Mueller has been killed. The death was confirmed by the Obama administration and Mueller’s family. The family was notified of her death by a private message from ISIS and the message was verified for authenticity by government intelligence.
Mueller’s family said in a statement, “We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life . . . Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”
President Obama also weighed in saying, “No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”
In 2013 Mueller, a 26-year-old Arizona native and international aid worker, was working on the border between Turkey and Syria when she was kidnapped off an Aleppo street after leaving a hospital. For the past year and a half, she had been imprisoned by the terrorist group ISIS, but believed to be alive. That is, until Friday, when ISIS announced that Mueller had been killed when a Jordanian missile struck a weapons warehouse during an airstrike against the group.
To backtrack for just a second, ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. They are a terrorist group, originally splintered off from Al Qaeda, and their aim is to create an Islamic state across the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria. They rule by Sharia law and have been dominating global headlines lately after a string of kidnappings and killings of people from all over the world who happen to be in the region.
The circumstances under which Mueller died were at first suspicious. ISIS is known for killing their hostages in awful, gruesome ways and documenting the evidence to use as propaganda. They have filmed numerous beheadings and recently they published a video showing Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death in a cage (which led to the aforementioned Jordanian air strike). In Mueller’s case, they did not immediately show proof of death.
Her death was further made suspect when the Jordanian government claimed that ISIS’ explanation of Mueller’s death was unlikely. “ISIS is being illogical and they’re lying,” Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Al Moumani told NBC News. In the case of al-Kaseasbah, the Jordanian government suspects that the pilot had been killed long before the tape was released. The timelines of hostage killings don’t line up with ISIS’ claims and they tend to release footage when it best serves their needs.
Additionally, the photograph ISIS published after the air raid showed a collapsed three-story building. There was no smoke, no sign of casualties. And ISIS said none of their fighters were harmed, which would have meant that they were keeping Mueller alone in the warehouse.
Unfortunately, the speculation proved wrong and it has been confirmed that Mueller died. Our heats our with her and her family, and it is just devastating to think of a 26-year-old woman kidnapped and killed for trying to do good. As President Obama said in his statement Mueller “epitomized all that is good in our world.” We couldn’t agree more.