While the actions of the ISIS terrorist group had been slipping from front page news of late, a series of new hostage crises brought ISIS right back into breaking news. The extremists apparently want to show that they are expanding in terms of support and audacity.
Most recently, ISIS released a video that graphically showed the burning death of Jordianian hostage Muath al-Kaseasbeh, 26. The actual slaying occurred January 2 of this year. The Jordianian fighter pilot was captured after going down December 24, 2014. Prior to the revealing of the video, ISIS was trying to negotiate with Jordan to free two ISIS terrorists that the state had on death row. One was Sajida al-Rishawi, a female failed suicide bomber from 2005. Jordan was willing to make the deal but wasn’t ready to comply until there was proof al-Kaseassbeh was alive. When the video of his death from a month ago emerged instead, the two prisoners were executed by Jordanian authorities. Also as a result, Jordan is more determined than ever to fight against ISIS. Air raids and bombings from Jordan have significantly increased these past few days.
This comes only days after the video of another ISIS hostage beheading. At the end of January, ISIS declared a $200 million ransom on two Japanese hostages: Kenji Goto, and Haruna Yukawa. Japan choose not to compromise with the terror group, but worked to assure safety in other ways to no avail. CNN cited a photo of Goto holding an image of a dead body, presumably Yukawa, a few weeks ago as affirmation that Yukawa was murdered. Then, last week, a video just over one minute long showed the beheading of Goto. Yukama, 42, was captured in August as he spent time in the area to gain perspective for his own private security company. Goto, 47, a journalist looking to cover the war torn Middle East, had not been in Syria long before being taken.
Upon further probing, the fate of Kayla Mueller, an American female held hostage by ISIS as well, has also been called into question. A volunteer aid worker, Mueller first traveled to the region to help victims of the Syrian civil war. She was taken in Aleppo, Syria as she was about to make her way back to Turkey. The entire situation was kept out of the media per the family’s wishes. The family, the US government, and ISIS have been communicating with one another privately. Unlike other hostages, Mueller has never been used in video or sources of propaganda. Officials had been hoping that this was a possible sign that a line would be drawn as respect for the female hostage. Circumstances with the other hostages dragged Kayla’s case into the light.
According to ISIS, Mueller, who has been held since August of 2013, was killed in a recent Jordanian airstrike, but no proof was provided. The U.S government disclosed February 10th, that Kayla Mueller is in fact dead.