The Islamic State, more commonly known as ISIS or ISIL, claims that U.S. hostage Kayla Mueller was killed by a Jordanian airstrike in Syria on Feb. 6. The airstrike from Jordan was a result of ISIS releasing footage of the group burning alive the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Moath al-Kasasbeh, who they captured.
On Feb. 6, ISIS posted online that Mueller was killed in the city of Ar-Raqqah with a photo of the dilapidated building where Mueller was reportedly being held. The photo has been subject to suspicion. The building does not appear as if it was hit by an airstrike, and there is no sign of smoke or any pieces of burned debris.
ISIS also claims that none of their militants died in the airstrike and Mueller was alone in the building. This statement, along with the picture, has led many to question if ISIS are telling the truth.
In the past when ISIS has claimed that one of their hostages has died, they have released an image or video of the body. Even though it was disturbing to see the graphic detail, people knew that ISIS was telling the unfortunate truth. This time is quite different. No one knows for a fact if Mueller is dead or alive.
There may be a tactic to ISIS’s actions. CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes said it could be propaganda, while Interior Minister of Jordan Hussein Al-Majali called it a PR stunt.
Both of these claims hold some degree of truth. ISIS has always shown the world what its hostages who have died. Why would this time be any different?
ISIS’s propaganda could be to gain money, the release of one of their fighters that the U.S. has in custody or for the U.S. to react in the same way that Jordan did.
It is hard to tell what’s next for ISIS. It seems like nothing is off limits or too inhumane for them. I believe they will try to keep outdoing themselves until they get a reaction from a large country like the U.S. ISIS wants the U.S. to go to war with them so they can kill more Americans. However, until ISIS can be stopped, they are going to always be thinking of new ways to try and spark reactions.
ISIS is a very powerful yet terrible group that needs to be handled in a delicate manner. I have faith our government will make the best decision for the U.S. as a whole.