Report: Hostage Kayla Mueller was given to ISIS fighter as a bride

Several failed rescue attempts were made by the US military, including one where a man pretending to be her husband came to the camp.

February 11, 2015 17:49
1 minute read.
Kayla Mueller

Kayla Mueller, 26, an American humanitarian worker from Prescott, Arizona. (photo credit: REUTERS)

American hostage Kayla Mueller was reportedly given to an Islamic State fighter as a bride during her time in captivity, CBS News reported Wednesday, citing the US intelligence community.

Further details of her time in captivity were not provided, however.

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During Mueller's 18 months as an Islamic State hostage, several rescue attempts were made by the US military, but all failed, including a July mission which also tried to rescue fellow American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were later killed.

In one such operation, for example, a man was sent to the Syrian terror camp, pretending to be her husband, and demanded her release, according to Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar in an interview with The Arizona Republic. However, Mueller was unaware of this rescue mission and denied that she had a husband, unwittingly losing her chance of gaining freedom.

US President Barack Obama responded to the failed rescue attempts. "I deployed an entire operation -- at significant risk -- to rescue not only her but the other individuals that had been held and probably missed them by a day or two," he said.

The White House stood by its long-held policy of not paying ransom for the lives of US citizens held hostage.

"Once we start doing that, not only are we financing their slaughter of innocent people and strengthening their organization, but we're actually making Americans even greater targets for future kidnappings," Obama said.

Mueller, 26, was captured in August 2013 while leaving a hospital in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. She previously had been working in Turkey providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from Syria's bloody civil war.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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