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American Forces Press Service

Pentagon Expresses Sorrow for Death of American Kayla Mueller

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2015 – On behalf of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and every U.S. service member, Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby expressed the Defense Department's deepest condolences today to the family of American Kayla Mueller, who reportedly died in an airstrike Feb. 6 while she was held hostage by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremists.

Mueller, 26, from Prescott, Ariz., was a humanitarian aid worker in northern Syria in August 2013 when she was taken hostage by ISIL, reports said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with [the family] in this very, very difficult time," Kirby said during a news conference. "I can't imagine the grief that they're going through today, and so our thoughts are squarely with them as they cope with this news."

ISIL claimed Mueller died during Friday's Jordanian airstrike on a Syrian storage facility where she was being held prisoner, Kirby said.

Building Struck was a Legitimate Target

Jordan is part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.

Kirby noted the building that was struck was "a legitimate target, a known weapons storage facility that ISIL had been using."

"We have no indication that there were civilian casualties as a result of those strikes or collateral damage," he said of ISIL's claim.

"Let's not forget in whose hands this woman died," he said. "And let's not forget who's ultimately responsible for it: ISIL."

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