Family of US hostage ’hopeful’ she is alive after ISIL claim
Washington - Agence France-Presse
In this May 30, 2013, photo, Kayla Mueller is shown after speaking to a group in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/The Daily Courier, Jo. L. Keener )The parents of a US hostage who Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadists said died in a coalition airstrike said on Feb. 6 they were "hopeful" she was still alive and asked her captors to contact them.
ISIL said Kayla Jean Mueller had been buried under rubble after a raid by a Jordanian warplane in the Syrian city of Raqqa, but Washington said it had no proof to support the claim.
The parents of the 26-year-old humanitarian worker appealed to her kidnappers to get in touch with them.
"This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive. We have sent you a private message and ask that you respond to us privately," Carl and Marsha Mueller said in a statement published on NBC News.
The family said they had been in touch with her captors in the past and made a public appeal Feb. 6 for her safe return.
"You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and wellbeing remains your responsibility," the statement read.
"Kayla’s mother and I have been doing everything we can to get her released safely. At this time we ask you, who are holding Kayla, to contact us privately."
The American aid worker was kidnapped in Aleppo, Syria in August 2013 after she left a Doctors Without Borders hospital. The family said she has been held by ISIL militants since then.
The jihadists’ claim of her death came as Jordan said dozens of its jet fighters had struck IS, widening their campaign from Syria to include targets in neighbouring Iraq.
Jordan, still reeling from the brutal murder of one of its pilots by the ISIL jihadists, rejected the claim that Mueller had been killed as an "old and sick trick" to deter coalition strikes.
Jordan is part of the international coalition battling the Sunni extremist group, which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and imposed an extreme interpretation of Islam on the areas under its control.
Mueller, a humanitarian worker from Arizona had traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border in December 2012 aiming to help Syrian refugees fleeing civil war.