US hostage killed in Jordanian airstrikes, claims IS

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Amman, Feb 7 (IANS) The Islamic State (IS) jihadi group claimed Friday that Jordan’s retaliatory air strikes, following the execution of its pilot have led to the death of a US hostage being held by the militants.

The online post by the IS said that the female US hostage was killed in Jordanian airstrikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa – the de facto capital of the IS, CNN reported.

The post showed a picture of a collapsed building that the IS claimed the woman was being held in. However, it did not show the hostage, or provide any proof of her death.

Jordanian Interior Minister Hussein Majali firmly trashed the IS claim, calling it “another PR stunt by ISIS (IS).”

“They tried to cause problems internally in Jordan and haven’t succeeded,” Majali said. “They are now trying to drive a wedge between the coalition with this latest low PR stunt.”

The IS jihadis are known to have held a number of people from the US, Britain and Japan hostage. Currently, at least two people from the West are thought to be in the militants’ custody — British journalist John Cantlie, who has appeared in a number of IS videos, and a 26-year-old female American aid worker.

Most of IS hostages have been executed by the terror group, which have released videos of the grisly deaths online.

The gruesome execution of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh by the IS, the video of which was released Tuesday, drew widespread condemnation, from even within the Arab world.

Jordanian officials said later that they have reason to believe al-Kasasbeh was actually killed in early January. In the interim, IS had suggested that he was still alive while signaling its openness to a prisoner exchange with Jordan.

Jordan executed two jihadi prisoners in retaliation Wednesday and launched airstrikes against several IS targets in Syria Thursday.