Americans today are cheering the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
But there’s a group of Americans to whom the operation has special meaning and maybe a small measure of justice.
That’s the families whose loved ones were taken from them by the terrorist group.
One of those families was that of Kayla Mueller.
Kayla Mueller was an aid worker, trying to help dispossessed families in the region when she was kidnapped by ISIS in 2013. She was tortured, kept as a slave and raped repeatedly by Baghdadi himself. But despite the horrible things she endured, she helped and inspired other captives, even refusing to give up her Christian faith and defending it to the infamous ISIS executioner, Jihadi John, according to ABC.
One fellow captive described how the ISIS executioner claimed that Mueller had converted to try to break their will. But she defied Jihadi John to his face in front of the other captives, saying no, she had not given up her faith.
When one of her fellow captives was planning to escape, a young teenaged Yazidi girl, she begged Kayla to go with her. But Kayla knew that if she did, ISIS would bring all forces to bear to find her and decrease the young girl’s chance of escaping. So she sacrificed her chance to escape to better the girl’s odds of getting away.
She is believed to have been killed during U.S. airstrikes on the terrorist lair in 2015. But her body has never been recovered and her parents are still seeking details.
Mueller’s parents have said they believe the Obama administration blocked their efforts to ransom their daughter, as other captives had been freed. They even reported being threatened by the Obama administration with criminal prosecution if they tried to raise ransom money. Obama also promised to donate to the foundation they set up in the name of their daughter, a promise he had not kept more than a year later, according to them.
Mueller’s father told the Daily Caller earlier this year he believed that had Trump been president when his daughter was taken, that she would be home.
White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the operation to get Baghdadi had been named after Kayla Mueller. “The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff named the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered,” he said, “That was something that people should know.”
On Sunday, the Muellers said they were deeply touched by the mention of their daughter and praised President Donald Trump and the soldiers who pulled off the mission.
From Arizona Central:
“We are so grateful for them … we are so grateful,” Marsha Mueller said. They were glad there was no loss of life on our side. They are grateful their daughter and the others who were tortured and killed by ISIS have not been forgotten.
“I still say Kayla should be here, and if Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been,” Marsha Mueller said.
“For me what matters most I’m hoping now we will finally get the answers we have been asking for all along,” Marsha Mueller said. “I think this administration truly might help us. I don’t think they are as closed about what happened.”
Carl Mueller said he was comforted when Trump mentioned his daughter twice in his morning press conference.
“He knows her story. He’s been briefed on it, and he knows, and that’s important to me,” Carl Mueller said. “I don’t think anything would have stopped him from getting this guy.”