Who is Kayla Mueller? Mission to eliminate Baghdadi was named after hostage who was tortured and raped by the ISIS leader himself

Who is Kayla Mueller? Mission to eliminate Baghdadi was named after hostage who was tortured and raped by the ISIS leader himself
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Source : Getty Images)

In a major boost to America’s war on terror, President Donald Trump confirmed on Sunday, October 27, that Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed following a military raid in northwest Syria over the weekend. An elated president made the announcement, saying Baghdadi’s ouster was a “top national security priority” of his administration.

The special operations forces that went after the IS leader named their mission after Kayla Mueller, a young humanitarian worker who was brutalized and killed by the terror outfit. National Security Adviser (NSA) Robert O’Brien revealed this during an interview on 'Meet the Press' on NBC. He said one of the inspirations behind the mission was to bring justice to Mueller and other Americans who were tortured by the slain IS leader and his men. The NSA also said the mission was named after Mueller by Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. 


Finally, justice for Kayla Mueller, says NSA

“We finally brought justice to a man that beheaded the three Americans: two journalists and a humanitarian worker. One of the things that General Milley did is naming the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller,” he said, adding that this bit of information is “something that people should know”.

In this handout photo provided by the White House, President Donald J. Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence (2nd L), National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien (L), Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (3rd R), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley (2nd R) and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff in the Situation Room of the White House October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. The President was monitoring developments as U.S. Special Operations forces close in on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria with a mission to kill or capture the terrorist. (Photo by Shealah Craighead/The White House via Getty Images)


Mueller was kidnapped, raped and reportedly killed in coalition airstrikes

Mueller, 26, was a human rights activist from Arizona who was kidnapped by the IS outside a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, on August 4, 2013. She had travelled to Syria from Turkey to visit the hospital. In her 18 months of captivity, Mueller was raped repeatedly by Baghdadi who allegedly married her forcibly. Mueller, who did her best to resist converting to Islam, reportedly died in a coalition airstrike in early 2015. 


I have been shown in darkness, light [and I] have learned that even in prison, one can be free
-- Kayla Mueller (1988-2015)

After graduating in 2009, Mueller worked with humanitarian aid outfits in India, Israel and Palestine and although she had plans to work in Africa, the outbreak of the civil war in Syria made her change her mind. In 2012, Mueller moved to southern Turkey where she worked with Support to Life and the Danish Refugee Council to aid victims fleeing the war. 

In 2013, Mueller reached Syria and disappeared just a day later with a man who was said to have been her boyfriend. While she was held hostage, the Christian activist never gave up and even inspired former IS hostages who were imprisoned with Mueller. The IS said she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on its positions in the Syrian city of Raqqa though Jordan and the White House denied the claim. Mueller’s body has not been recovered yet although the IS sent her family some photos of her body through email. After her death, Mueller’s family released a handwritten letter that she had penned in 2014 while in jail. In that she wrote that even in prison, one can be free.


“I have been shown in darkness, light [and I] 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,” the letter read. 

Mueller's family rode a roller coaster of emotion on hearing of Baghdadi's death

Mueller’s parents felt a “roller coaster of emotions” after Trump announced the elimination of Baghdadi. Mueller’s father Carl told CNN over the phone on Sunday that it’s a roller-coaster of emotions whenever this ugly situation raises its head but that it has become a part of their life over the last five-and-half years.

"I just want to say how grateful we are to this administration, to the military, and to the special forces that went in. My hope is that this will help us get answers to what really happened to Kayla and get her home,” Mueller’s mother Marsha said. 


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 Mission to kill Al Baghdadi named after human rights worker Kayla Mueller, says US NSA