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Family of ISIS hostage hopeful she is still alive

Carl and Marsha Mueller of Arizona, parents of Kayla Jean Mueller, asked ISIS to contact the family privately

Published: Updated:

The parents of an American humanitarian worker held hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group since August 2013 said on Friday they are still hopeful she is alive, after the group said she was killed in a bombing by Jordanian fighter jets.

In a statement released by a family representative, Carl and Marsha Mueller of Arizona, parents of Kayla Jean Mueller, asked ISIS to contact the family privately.

“You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and well-being remains your responsibility,” they said in a message directed to “those in positions of responsibility for holding Kayla.”

Jordan said on Friday it had carried out a second straight day of air strikes on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants to avenge a captive Jordanian pilot burnt to death by the group.

“Sorties of air force fighters executed several air strikes against select targets of the Daesh [ISIS] gang,” state television said in a bulletin adding that the army would announce details later.

In a statement posted on militant websites, ISIS said the woman, who has been identified as Kayla Mueller, was buried under rubble after a raid by a Jordanian warplane in Raqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the militant group.

“The plane from the crusader coalition bombed a position outside the city of Raqa after Friday prayers,” it said.

“No fighter was wounded but we can confirm that an American hostage was killed in the strikes.”

The statement did not show any pictures of a body and there was no independent confirmation of the claim. In Washington, U.S. officials said they could not confirm that the woman had been killed.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters during a briefing in Washington that “I cannot confirm those reports in any way.”

“We have said that there are a number of Americans being held overseas, including still by the Islamic State [ISIS]. I'm not going to get into further details than that,” Harf added.

“We are obviously deeply concerned by these reports. We have not at this time seen any evidence that corroborates ISIL's [ISIS] claim,” Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement.