A new report indicates that now-deceased ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have personally ordered the execution of American hostage Kayla Mueller, dispelling the terror group’s 2015 claim that she had been killed in an airstrike.
A former FBI agent working with the Mueller family discovered the information while interviewing the wife of a close colleague to Baghdadi, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Mueller, a humanitarian aid worker who had been working in Turkey for eight months, disappeared on Aug. 4, 2013, just one day after crossing into Syria. She and three other Americans were captured at a hospital by ISIS terrorists.
ISIS held Mueller captive for some 18 months, during which she was believed to be raped and tortured – including numerous times at the hands of Baghdadi himself – until 2015 when the terror group announced Mueller had been killed by an airstrike in Syria.
The new information collected by the FBI agent, however, says Mueller was a security risk for ISIS because she knew Baghdadi’s identity, as well as the identity of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who was the spokesman for the terror group at that time.
Mueller was reportedly moved between numerous locations in the final months before her death. One of the moves was prompted after Mueller was assaulted by one of Baghdadi’s wives, who demanded Mueller’s removal from the home, the NYT report stated.
The Mueller family has expressed hopes that Mueller could still be alive and have carried out their own efforts to discover what happened to her, or where her remains lie.
Kayla Mueller’s mother, Marsha Mueller, said recently, “I know that Kayla is most likely gone, and in heaven, but what if she isn’t?”
“There was always this 1 percent possibility that — could she possibly be alive? We just need to find her and bring her home, that’s the goal,” she added.
ISIS had originally contacted the Mueller family in late 2013 with a short video of Mueller and a ransom of 20 million euros. The following year, the ransom dropped to 5 million euros – an amount matching that paid by European nations for the rescue of other hostages.
Upon Baghdadi’s death last month during a raid named in Kayla Mueller’s honor, the Mueller family expressed gratitude for the raid that took down their daughter’s tormentor, and attributed the success to President Trump’s “decisive” approach.
“We are so grateful for them … we are so grateful,” Marsha Mueller said of the U.S. forces that raided Baghdadi’s northern Syrian compound Saturday night. “I still say Kayla should be here, and if Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been.”
The Mueller family was one of four families of slain ISIS victims that Trump called after Baghdadi’s death, and he promised the family that he would help them find answers surrounding their daughter’s death.