There wasn’t going to be any rescue mission for ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller.
Mueller’s parents asked the Obama administration to negotiate her release instead, Foreign Policy magazine reported, citing a military official familiar with the discussions.
Their wish appears to have run contrary to the stated US policy of never negotiating with terrorists.
ISIS claims the 26-year-old Arizona aid worker was killed Friday in a Jordanian attack near Raqqa in northern Syria, the ISIS capital.
Mueller’s family does not believe she’s dead. In a statement Friday, her relatives said they were “still hopeful that Kayla is alive.”
US officials say there is no proof she was killed. Jordanian officials called the report of her death a “sick trick.” ISIS did not publish any pictures of Mueller’s body.
Mueller was snatched in August 2013. Her family remained publicly silent but implored US officials to not mount a possible lethal rescue mission. As a result, the US didn’t even launch a plan to locate her, the magazine reported.
If Mueller’s death is confirmed, the US Joint Special Operations Command, based at Fort Bragg, NC, would push to step up attacks on ISIS in Syria since renewed attacks would no longer pose a danger to her, Foreign Policy said.
Mueller is believed to be the last US hostage in ISIS hands. Three Americans — journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig — were beheaded by ISIS thugs.
An activist in Raqqa said he heard Mueller had been moved recently from a women’s prison to an ISIS camp east of the city. The camp “has recently been the target of intense coalition raids,” the activist said.
Mueller grew up in Prescott and launched a career as an aid worker after she graduated from college in 2009.
“Kayla found this work heartbreaking but compelling,” said a statement released by her family. “She is extremely devoted to the people of Syria.”
Warplanes pounded the Raqqa area Saturday for a second straight day. Jordan’s military says its fighter jets have launched dozens of strikes since Thursday.
More than 30 ISIS fighters were killed in attacks Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Jordan has ramped up its attacks on ISIS after the release of a video last week showing Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death in a cage.