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Politics Kayla Mueller, ISIS hostage killed in Syria, becomes a focus of Pence-Harris debate

14:05  08 october  2020
14:05  08 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Vice President Mike Pence brought the parents of Kayla Mueller , the human rights activist who was killed in 2015 by members of the Islamic State in Syria , to the debate hall and attacked Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the debate for not doing more as vice president to rescue her.

Kayla Mueller , the US aid worker Isis is claiming has been killed in a Jordanian air strike (The Daily Courier, Matt Hinshaw). She disappeared after driving into the norther Syria city of Aleppo with her Syrian boyfriend and was captured along with several other aid workers in August 2013 while working

PHOENIX – More than seven years after she was kidnapped in Syria and later died, Arizona's Kayla Mueller became a centerpiece name in Wednesday night's vice presidential debate.

Vice President Mike Pence, during a debate with Democratic nominee Sen. Kamala Harris, invoked the story of Mueller, who was tortured and raped while being held hostage by ISIS during the years of President Barack Obama's administration.

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The founder and leader of ISIS has been killed in a US raid. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was attacked by a special operations team in Northern Syria and died Mueller , 26, was on a humanitarian mission in Turkey on Aug. 3, 2013, when ISIS kidnapped her after crossing the Syrian border to visit a hospital.

Kayla Mueller was imprisoned by Isis before being killed in a 2015 airs trike at the age of 26. She had travelled to the Turkey/ Syria border to work with Mr Mueller added: “We feel this is the moment. He’s been killed , some of his lieutenants have been captured, and who else would know what happened to

Pence cited Mueller's parents' previous remarks supporting President Donald Trump.

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"Her family says with a heart that broke the heart of every American that if President Donald Trump had been president they believe Kayla would be alive today," Pence said.

Earlier the same day, the Justice Department announced two British ISIS militants would face terrorism charges in the deaths of Mueller and other hostages.

"We put all our faith in government, but the government let us down,” Carl Mueller, Kayla's father, said at the announcement of the charges.

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Image caption Clockwise from top left: Aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig, and journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley. It has taken nearly eight years to reach this moment - from the day that James Foley and John Cantlie were taken hostage in Syria to the reading out of the indictment

Kayla Mueller , the US aid worker Isis is claiming has been killed in a Jordanian air strike (The Daily Courier, Matt Hinshaw). She disappeared after driving into the norther Syria city of Aleppo with her Syrian boyfriend and was captured along with several other aid workers in August 2013 while working

Who was Kayla Mueller?

Kayla Mueller, who grew up in Prescott and attended Northern Arizona University, later traveled the world working as a humanitarian and volunteer. She was working for an aid group in Turkey in August 2013 when she accompanied a friend who was crossing into Syria to work in the city of Aleppo.

Inside Syria, where a years-long civil war was further clouded by the rising influence of ISIS, Mueller was soon captured.

She was held for 18 months, and other captives later reported she endured rape and torture at the hands of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former ISIS leader.

American officials and Mueller's parents struggled to find and free her. In February 2015, her captors announced she had died.

Al-Baghdadi was killed during a U.S.-led raid in Syria in 2019.

Other ISIS captors had been taken into custody, including the two who were charged Wednesday.

Other American victims of the ISIS captors were print and video journalist James Foley, who was covering the war in Syria when he was captured; Steven Sotloff, a journalist who was reporting on the refugee crisis in Syria; Peter Kassig, a humanitarian aid worker; and Mueller, also a humanitarian aid worker.

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Friends and family of Kayla Mueller , the American hostage of the Islamic State who was killed in Syria , paid tribute to her in her hometown Her car was ambushed on the way, and she and her Syrian companion were abducted. He was later freed and has declined to speak about what happened.

The family of Kayla Mueller have revealed the brief video clip they were sent by Isis to prove that the American hostage was still alive in 2013, just a month "My name is Kayla Mueller ," she says in the video. "I need your help." Ms Mueller went missing from from the Syrian city of Aleppo in spring 2013.

ISIS released videos in 2014 showing the beheadings of Foley, Sotloff and Kassig. Mueller's death was announced on social media, though her parents have never recovered her remains.

Why did Pence mention Mueller?

In the years since the ordeal, Mueller's parents have become outspoken Trump supporters, and Carl Mueller has appeared on stage at Trump rallies in Arizona.

a couple of people posing for the camera: Carl and Marsha Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on Feb. 4, 2020. Their daughter, Kayla, was captured by ISIS in Syria, then held captive, tortured and killed in 2015. © The White House Carl and Marsha Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on Feb. 4, 2020. Their daughter, Kayla, was captured by ISIS in Syria, then held captive, tortured and killed in 2015.

On Wednesday night, during responses to a question about "the role of American leadership in 2020," Pence called out the case specifically — and criticized the response of Obama and Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time.

"Al-Baghdadi was responsible for the death of thousands," Pence said. "And notably with America's hearts today are with the family of Kayla Mueller — her parents of which are here with us tonight in Salt Lake City. Today, two of the ISIS killers responsible for Kayla Mueller's murder were brought to justice in the United States."

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Two ISIS 'Beatles' finally admit involvement in holding American aid worker Kayla Mueller hostage and say 'she was very scared' during years of captivity and torture before she was killed . Kayla Mueller was held hostage in Syria , where she was sexually abused and tortured before her death in 2015.

As systematic rape becomes an increasingly powerful recruiting tool for Isis , the full story of the ordeal faced by The girl says she spent two months in captivity with Ms Mueller before escaping from the Syrian Kayla Mueller was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013(AP). As a captive in al-Shadadiya

Axios reported Wednesday that Mueller's parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, had joined the debate in Salt Lake City. Calls from The Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network, to the Muellers went unanswered Wednesday.

“The reality is that when Joe Biden was vice president, we had an opportunity to save Kayla Mueller. It breaks my heart to reflect on it, but the military came into the Oval Office, presented a plan, they said they knew where Kayla was, Baghdadi had held her for 18 months, abused her mercilessly before they killed her," Pence said.

Did Obama and Biden miss a chance to save Kayla Mueller?

Pence suggested delays during the Obama administration were the reason Mueller hadn't been saved.

"When Joe Biden was vice president, they hesitated for a month, and when armed forces finally went in, it was clear she had been moved two days earlier," he said.

The accusation alludes to claims of delays that have long swirled around Mueller's captivity, though the Obama administration denied it stalled on a rescue.

Obama himself may have been the original source of the idea that U.S. special forces, sent into Syria on a mission to save Mueller and other hostages, missed the group by "two days."

Obama, speaking to Buzzfeed News in 2015, revealed that a raid earlier in Mueller's captivity had been intended to free her.

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"I deployed an entire operation — at significant risk — to rescue not only her but the other individuals who had been held, and probably missed them by a day or two, precisely because we had that commitment," he said at the time.

The Washington Post reported that some people involved in the rescue mission later said there were delays in seeking the president's approval for the raid, costing crucial days that might have allowed the hostages to be found.

Other officials denied there were delays, saying the mission was complex and in territory unfamiliar to U.S. forces, but that the president approved the plan swiftly once it was complete.

More than the raid itself, families of hostages have objected to the Obama administration's handling of the captors' demands for ransom.

When kidnappers demanded millions for Mueller's release, her parents said government officials cautiously warned them against paying a ransom themselves. U.S. policy forbade ransom, and parents of all the hostages were generally encouraged to keep the cases secret. Some later came to view that as a move to prevent them from freeing their children on their own while also silencing them from criticizing government efforts.

In June 2015, after widespread criticism over the handling of the hostage cases, Obama unveiled new rules that would essentially allow families to offer private ransom payments, though the federal government would continue to refuse to make such payments.

After Pence's remarks on Wednesday night, Harris responded: "First of all, to the Mueller family, I know about your daughter's case and I am so sorry. I am so sorry. What happened to her is awful and it should have never happened. And I know Joe feels the same way. And I know President Obama feels the same way."

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Republic reporters Josh Susong, Karina Bland and Perry Vandell contributed to this article.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kayla Mueller, ISIS hostage killed in Syria, becomes a focus of Pence-Harris debate

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