19:57 GMT17 January 2021
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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    There is no evidence that the Jordanian airstrikes in Syria killed 26-year-old Kayla Jean Mueller, the only known American hostage held by Islamic State (IS), according to US and Jordanian officials.

    MOSCOW, (Sputnik) — US and Jordanian officials said there is no plausible evidence that the only known American hostage held by Islamic State (IS) was killed in the latest Jordanian airstrikes in Syria.

    On Friday, IS claimed the Jordanian bombings in Syria killed 26-year-old Kayla Jean Mueller, an aid worker from Arizona, who was captured by the militants in 2013 while working with Syrian refugees near the country’s northern city of Aleppo.

    “We do not at the present have any evidence to corroborate ISIL’s [IS’] claims,” US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement aired on NBC News on Friday.

    On the same day, the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said in a Twitter post that the IS claim was an “old and sick trick used by terrorists and despots for decades.”

    According to NBC, the US Defense Department said there were no US or Jordanian combat missions on IS targets near Raqqa, but rather some 225 kilometers away, in Al-Hasakah city.

    US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles are designed to conduct airstrikes in Syria and Iraq
    © REUTERS / U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Handout
    Meanwhile, Meuller’s family released a letter to IS on Friday, asking the militant group to contact them directly.

    "This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive," Mueller’s parents were quoted as saying by local media.

    Meuller will be the fourth US national to die under IS hostage if her death is confirmed. Two US journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig, were beheaded by the extremist group in 2014.

    Earlier this week, IS released a video showing Jordanian pilot Muath Kasaesbeh being burned alive. The pilot was captured by the militant group in December last year, when his plane went down in Syria while carrying out airstrikes by the US-led anti-IS coalition.

    Jordan, which has intensified airstrikes in IS targets since the pilot’s brutal killing, vowed to destroy the extremist group in an “earth-shaking” response.

    IS is currently fighting in Syria and Iraq, where it has managed to capture large swathes of territory and declared a caliphate on the territories under its control. A coalition of more than 60 countries led by the United States has been carrying out airstrikes on militants' positions in an attempt to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the radical group.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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