On Friday, ISIS claimed that Jordanian airstrikes against them had claimed the life of an American female hostage. The woman’s identity, previously kept secret, has been tentatively revealed as 26-year-old aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller. The report of the ISIS claim was initially circulated by NBC media partner Flashpoint Intelligence. The U.S. State Department has yet to comment.
Jordan has led two days of intensive airstrikes against ISIS targets in the region after a video showing the murder of Jordanian military pilot Muath Al-Kasasbeh was made public. There has been a massive outpouring of public and official support from people throughout the Middle East and Jordan in particular for just such swift, large-scale retaliatory attacks against ISIS.
On Friday, a day typically reserved for large-scale prayer services in the Muslim world, Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah took part in a public demonstration in Jordan’s capital city of Amman.
“Joined thousands of Jordanians today at a peaceful unity march in loving memory of our martyr Muath Al-Kasasbeh in downtown Amman,” wrote the queen along with a photo of her holding a poster of al-Kasasbeh on Instagram.
معاذ شهيد الحق. اليوم خلال مشاركتي الآلاف من الأردنيين بمسيرة الوحدة الوطنية للشهيد معاذ الكساسبة #أقسمت_وأوفيت #معاذ_الكساسبة #معاذ_شهيد_الحق #جمعة_شهيد_الحق #كلنا_الأردن Joined thousands of Jordanians today at a peaceful unity march in loving memory of our martyr Muath Al-Kasasbeh in downtown Amman #IamMuath #Jordan
Jordan’s king and queen have been at the forefront of public mourning over the killing of the pilot, which has drawn outrage both for its violence and for its graphic depiction of how the man died. His clothes were doused in gasoline and he was burned alive in a locked cage. The 22-minute video that ends with his horrific demise was posted on websites on Wednesday. Experts say that it is considered exceptionally brutal, even for the Islamic State group.
The video and the pilot’s murder are also being taken as a signal that the group, known for producing propaganda videos, have raised the stakes in their propaganda work. Experts say that the video was so complex and extravagant that it would have taken a significant amount of time and organization to script, stage, produce, and distribute.
The production requirements for the video also suggest that the pilot was already dead when prisoner swap demands were being made by ISIS to Jordan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.