The parents of an American hostage who the Islamic State group claimed had been killed in a US-led coalition air strike have said they are “hopeful” she is still alive.
The IS jihadists said Kayla Jean Mueller had been buried under rubble when a Jordanian warplane hit a building in the Syrian city of Raqa, their self-proclaimed “capital”.
But the United States said there was no proof that the 26-year-old aid worker from Arizona had been killed.
Her parents appealed to her captors to contact them and for her safe return, in a statement carried by NBC News.
“This news leaves us concerned, yet, we are still hopeful that Kayla is alive. We have sent you a private message and ask that you respond to us privately,” said Carl and Marsha Mueller.
They said they had previously been in touch with IS following her kidnapping in August 2013.
“You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and wellbeing remains your responsibility,” they said.
Jordan — still reeling from the brutal murder of one of its pilots by IS — rejected the jihadists’ claim that its warplanes killed Mueller, calling it an “old and sick trick” to deter coalition strikes.
“The plane from the crusader coalition bombed a position outside the city of Raqa after Friday prayers,” the Islamic State group said.
“No fighter was wounded but we can confirm that an American hostage was killed,” it said on jihadist websites without publishing any pictures of her body.
The claim came as Amman said its fighter jets had launched dozens of strikes on IS, widening their campaign from Syria to include targets in neighbouring Iraq.