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Obama Meets Parents of IS Hostage Who Died

  • VOA News

FILE - Kayla Mueller is shown in his undated handout photo obtained courtesy of the Mueller family and the office of U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona.

FILE - Kayla Mueller is shown in his undated handout photo obtained courtesy of the Mueller family and the office of U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona.

President Barack Obama met Friday with the parents of Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker who was taken hostage and died in the custody of Islamic State militants.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama expressed his condolences for Mueller's death while on a visit to her home state of Arizona.

"He appreciated the chance to hear from the Muellers more about Kayla's compassion and dedication to assisting those in need around the world," Schultz said.

Islamic State militants claimed Mueller was killed during a Jordanian airstrike in February. U.S. officials have questioned the circumstances of her death.

The 26-year-old woman had been held by the Islamists for 18 months.

Since 2014, the Islamic State group has beheaded a number of individuals from countries around the world, including three Americans: journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig.

Islamic State militants have also killed Britons David Haines, a former Royal Air Force engineer; Alan Henning, a taxi driver from northwest England; and photojournalist John Cantlie.

In a letter written by Mueller to her family while she was in captivity, the aid worker said she was being treated with the "utmost respect [and] kindness" at a "safe location, completely unharmed [and] healthy."

"If you could say I have 'suffered' at all throughout this whole experience, it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through," Mueller wrote on a notebook page. "I have surrendered myself to our Creator."

"None of us could have known it would be this long, but know I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able," she wrote. "I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down [and] I will not give in no matter how long it takes."

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