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US military raid on ISIS leader was named for Arizona’s Kayla Mueller

In this photo, Kayla Mueller is shown after speaking to a group in Prescott, Ariz. A statement that appeared on a militant website commonly used by the Islamic State group claimed that Mueller was killed in a Jordanian airstrike on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the militant group's main stronghold. The IS statement could not be independently verified. (AP Photo/The Daily Courier, Matt Hinshaw)

PHOENIX – The U.S. military mission that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi was named after Arizona’s Kayla Mueller, a humanitarian who was captured and later killed by terrorists in Syria.

“We just learned that the whole thing was dedicated to Kayla thanks to General [Mark] Milley and it’s very touching,” Carl Mueller, Kayla’s father, told ABC News on Sunday.

Mueller, of Prescott, was killed in 2015. She had been held hostage since 2013 and was tortured and raped by al-Baghdadi, her father said.

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted to honor the hostages, in particular Mueller.

The 26-year-old was, “a great young American – idealistic young girl,” O’Brien said.

President Donald Trump spoke of Mueller during his announcement of al-Baghdadi’s death.

“He kept her in captivity for a long period of time; he kept her in captivity, his personal captivity. She was a beautiful woman, beautiful young woman, helped people. She was there to help people,” Trump said.

Her body has not been recovered.

Mueller’s parents said they met secretly with the wife of one of the terrorists to try to find out what happened to Kayla’s remains or even if she was possibly still alive.

Umm Sayyaf, whose husband Abu Sayyaf was killed by a U.S. Special Forces team, gave them details that hadn’t been revealed before.

Carl and Marsha Mueller want more answers and are prepared to take the government to court, the network reported.

“She’s not forgotten, and that’s important,” Carl Mueller said.

Freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotlof and humanitarian worker Peter Kassig were also captured and killed along with Mueller.

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