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ISIS says female US hostage killed in airstrike

Sky News logo Sky News 6/02/2015
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The terrorist group claimed Kayla Jean Mueller was killed by Jordanian aircraft rockets that a struck the building in which she was being held.

The militants said that none of their fighters were killed in the air raids, which they said happened in their de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.

"The crusader criminal coalition bombed the location just outside of Raqqa as people were at prayers for more than one hour," said the Islamic State.

"But Allah has made their efforts fail and not a single mujahid (fighter) was killed in the attack.

"But we can confirm the death of an American hostage by the rockets which targeted that area."

The group released images showing a damaged building it said had been targeted in air strikes, but no photos of the hostage.

Jordanian fighter jets bombed Islamic State sites on Thursday, after the militants burned to death a captured Jordanian pilot.

The White House, State Department and Pentagon said they could not confirm the unsubstantiated report.

"We are obviously deeply concerned by these reports," said Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in a statement.

"We have not at this time seen any evidence that corroborates ISIL's claim."

Sky News' Dominic Waghorn in Washington says the claim may simply be a propaganda strike against Jordan to deter it from escalating its military action.

The American female hostage, whom Sky News is not currently naming, is understood to have disappeared in August 2013 in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Her family later received a proof-of-life video, showing her pleading for her life.

French journalist Nicolas Henin, who was released from Islamic State captivity in April last year, has tweeted that the American woman was "among the very last of my former cellmates still detained.

"I was full of hope she could have a way out."

The State Department told Sky News on Wednesday it was working "very hard" to free the aid worker.

A media blackout on her plight was broken by President Barack Obama on Monday, when he confirmed IS had at least one American hostage.

In an interview with NBC, he said: "We're deploying all assets that we can, working with all the coalition allies that we can to identify their locations.

"We're in very close contact with her family, trying to keep them updated. Obviously, this is something that is heart-breaking for families.

"And our obligation is to do anything we can to make sure an American citizen is rescued from this situation."

The President was speaking after IS released a video showing the execution of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

The Islamic State has already executed three American hostages: James Foley, Peter Kassig and Steven Sotloff.

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