CIA probes ISIS claim Jordanian airstrikes killed US aid worker
The CIA is investigating a claim by ISIS that its sole remaining American hostage, an aid worker held for nearly a year and a half, has been killed, and the terrorist groups claim that her death came in a Jordanian airstrike, sources told Fox News.
The woman, who a White House official accidentally named on television two weeks ago, but had otherwise not been identified by media at the request of the U.S. government and her family as the Pentagon worked to secure her, is believed to be the last American hostage the terrorist army is holding, since the beheading of Peter Kassig
, a 26-year-old American aid worker, killed in November.
Unlike other Islamic State captives killed by the group after their ransom demands were spurned, the woman has not been featured on any hostage videos in which the terrort army's prisoners, under obvious duress, denounce the west and plead for their lives. In some cases, intelligence officials have determined that the hostages were killed long before the Islamic State militants claimed, raising the possibility that the aid worker was already dead.
On Sunday, President Obama said the U.S. is doing everything it can to free the woman.
"Obviously this is something that is heartbreaking for the family and we want to make sure we do anything we can to make sure that any American citizen is rescued from this situation," Obama told NBC prior to the Super Bowl.
Jordan, which had previously taken part in U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State, stepped up its efforts on Wednesday, a day after the Islamic State released a horrifying video of a Jordanian air force pilot being burned to death in a cage. It was in one of those strikes that Islamic State claims the woman was killed.
Islamic State militants had demanded a $6 million ransom and the release of terrorist prisoners in exchange for the female hostage, whose name was accidentally revealed by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on ABC.
“As it related to our hostages, we are obviously continuing to work those matters very, very aggressively, McDonough said. “We are sparing no expense and spring no effort, both in trying to make sure that we know where they are and make sure that we’re prepared to do anything we must to try and get them home. But [redacted at request of security officials] family knows how strongly the president feels about this, and we will continue to work this.”
Among the prisoners Islamic State sought to trade for the woman was Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist trained at MIT who was convicted of attempting to murder United States officials and planning to make dirty bombs for use in terror attacks in 2010.
In August, an ISIS militant believed to be British kand dubbed "Jihadi John" by the UK press, beheaded freelance journalist James Foley in a video released online. That was followed by the similar, gruesome Sept. 2 murder of Steven Sotloff, a journalist who had written for Time magazine and other publications. Kassig was the last American known to have been killed by the barbaric group.
But Islamic State also beheaded two UK aid workers, David Haines, who was killed in September, and Alan Henning, who went to help refugees from Syria's bloody civil war, in October. Late last month, it released videos showing it had slaughtered two Japanese citizens, Haruna Yukawa, a self-employed security contractor, and Kenji Goto, a journalist.