PRIME Minister David Cameron was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation that US aid worker Kayla Mueller has been killed while held hostage by Islamic State militants in Syria, Downing Street has said.
US President Barack Obama confirmed that the parents of the 26-year-old, from Arizona, have been told of her death.
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Islamic State - also known as Isis or Isil - has claimed that she died in a Jordanian air strike, something which the authorities in Amman dismissed as propaganda.
But Mr Cameron said that it is the terror group alone which bears responsibility for Kayla’s death.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister is deeply saddened by the news. Our thoughts are with her friends and family as they deal with this tragic news.
“The Prime Minister is absolutely clear that those responsible for her death are the brutal Isil terrorists that kidnapped her and tormented her in her captivity.
“As the Americans have said we will do all we can to bring those responsible for her death to account.”
Ms Mueller is believed to be the fourth American to die while being held by Islamic State, and was the only known remaining US hostage known to be in the hands of the group. She was taken in August 2013 while leaving a hospital in Syria.
Parents Carl and Marsha Mueller said in a statement: “We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life.
“Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice and peace.”
The family released a letter they received written by Kayla and delivered by another hostage who was freed prior to her death.
Below is the letter in full:
Everyone, if you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released. I have asked them to contact you +send you this letter.
It’s hard to know what to say.
Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness.
I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but I didn’t know if my cell mates would be leaving in the coming days or the coming months restricting my time but primarily) I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears.
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; I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness.
I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God.
I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else…. + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.
I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful.
I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness + surrender to God as well + have formed a bond of love + support amongst one another…
I miss you all as if it has been a decade of forced separation. I have had many a long hour to think, to think of all the things I will do w/ Lex, our first family camping trip, the first meeting @ the airport.
I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally @ 25 years old come to realize your place in my life.
The gift that is each one of you + the person I could + could not be if you were not a part of my life, my family, my support.
I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there is any other option take it, even if it takes more time. This should never have become your burden.
I have asked these women to support you; please seek their advice. If you have not done so already, [REDACTED] can contact [REDACTED] who may have a certain level of experience with these people.
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 + I have a lot of fight left inside of me.
I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes.
I wrote a song some months ago that says “The part of me that pains the most also gets me out of bed, w/out your hope there would be nothing left…” aka ‐ the thought of your pain is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of my strength.
Please be patient, give your pain to God.
I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing.
Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I + by God’s will we will be together soon.
All my everything,