The military operation that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria on Saturday evening was named after Kayla Mueller, a young American aid worker who was tortured and died while being held hostage by her ISIS abductors.
Mueller’s parents praised President Trump and the troops who were involved in bringing al-Baghdadi to justice. “We are so grateful for them … we are so grateful,” Marsha Mueller told the Arizona Republic.
“I still say Kayla should be here, and if Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been,” the slain aid worker’s mother said.
“For me what matters most I’m hoping now we will finally get the answers we have been asking for all along,” she continued. “I think this administration truly might help us. I don’t think they are as closed about what happened.”
Her husband, Carl Mueller, agreed that it was “important” to him that Trump knew his daughter’s story and thanked him for mentioning Kayla in his announcement about the operation on Sunday morning.
“He knows her story. He’s been briefed on it, and he knows, and that’s important to me,” he said, according to the Republic. “I don’t think anything would have stopped him from getting this guy.”
“What [al-Baghdadi] did to her was incredible,” the president said. “He kept her in captivity for a long period of time. He kept her in his captivity, his personal captivity. She was a beautiful woman, beautiful young woman. Helped people. She was there to help people. And he saw her and he thought she was beautiful, and … he killed her. He was an animal, and he was a gutless animal.”
Kayla Mueller was a 25-year-old human rights activist working in Syria when she was abducted in 2013. She remained in ISIS captivity for 18 months, reportedly being tortured and forced into marriage to al-Baghdadi himself.
Her father blamed al-Baghdadi for her death. “She was held in many prisons,” he said. “She was held in solitary confinement. She was tortured. She was intimidated. She was ultimately raped by al-Baghdadi himself.”
“He either killed her or he was complicit in her murder. I’ll let people who read this article make up their own mind how a parent should feel,” he added.
Mueller’s body has not yet been recovered. “I still want to know, where is Kayla and what truly happened to her and what aren’t we being told,” her mother told the Republic. “Someone knows, and I’m praying with all my heart that someone in this world will bring us those answers.”
According to ABC News, four fellow ISIS hostages who at some point shared cells with her, said that her heroic courage was inspiring to them. Mueller, a devoted Christian, never gave up hope and strongly defended her faith during her capture.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday and he spoke of the operation that took al Baghdadi’s life. “This leader, al Baghdadi, was the most vicious, cruel man,” he said. “In my prior job as a hostage envoy, I had a chance to meet the Kassigs and Muellers and Sotloffs and Foleys. I had a chance to speak with Diane Foley this morning. We finally brought justice to a man that beheaded the three Americans, two journalists and a humanitarian worker, and then Kayla Mueller, who was working as a humanitarian, a great young American idealistic young girl. And one of the things General Milley did is, General Milley named the operation, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff named the operation that took down al Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered. And that was something that, you know, people should know. But justice was brought to those Americans who were so brutally killed, as were others, as the president pointed out.”
Video by NBC News
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