The Islamic State said Friday that the American female hostage being held by the terror group was killed in one of the airstrikes launched by Jordan earlier in the day on the city of Raqqa in Syria, the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate.
The group claimed the 26-year-old American aid worker died when the building she was being held in was struck by Jordanian aircraft, according to the SITE intelligence group.
She was named by the terror group as Kayla Jean Mueller. Her identity was not previously disclosed out of concerns for her safety.
A family representative told The Associated Press last year that the 26-year-old was working with humanitarian groups in Syria when she was captured in 2013.
— الرقة تذبح بصمت (@Raqqa_SL) February 6, 2015
If her death is confirmed, she would be the fourth American to die while in the captivity of the Islamic State. Three other Americans — journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig — were beheaded by the group, as were two British aid workers, a Japanese contractor and a Japanese journalist.
According to SITE, IS distributed a statement on Twitter alleging that “the criminal crusader coalition aircraft bombarded a site outside the city of ar-Raqqah today at noon while the people were performing the Friday prayer. It was confirmed to us the killing of an American female hostage by fire of the shells dropped on the site, and she is Kayla Jean Mueller.”
“She was buried beneath the rubble,” a caption in one of the accompanying photos released by the terror group claimed.
IS alleged that none of its members were killed in the attack.
The statement could not be independently verified. American officials said they were looking into the report.
The White House said it did not have immediate comment.
There was no word from the Jordanian government on whether its planes had struck Raqqa on Friday.
The Islamic State’s claim came just days after it released a horrifying video showing the execution by fire of captive Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh. His death has sparked grief and deep anger in Jordan.
Jordan’s military has pledged to “destroy this terrorist group and kill the evil in its own place,” saying it would punish IS for the “heinous act” of burning him alive.
King Abdullah II visited the airman’s family — who have urged the government to “destroy” the jihadists — to pay his condolences.
Jordan has conducted regular raids against IS across the border in Syria as part of a US-led campaign against the Sunni extremist group.
Earlier Friday, Sky News Arabia reported that some 35 jihadists were killed as Jordan launched fresh airstrikes against the Islamic State overnight Thursday-Friday.
The deadly raids were carried out near Mosul in Iraq, local sources said, and came after the Hashemite Kingdom vowed a harsh response to the burning alive of the pilot captured in Syria.