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Family Of Islamic State Hostage Kayla Jean Mueller Hopeful She’s Still Alive

PRESCOTT, Arizona (AP) — The parents of a 26-year-old American who Islamic State extremists say was killed in an airstrike in Syria said in a statement addressed to group leaders that the claim of their daughter's death concerned them but they ...

The parents of a 26-year-old American who Islamic State extremists say was killed in an airstrike in Syria said in a statement addressed to group leaders that the claim of their daughter’s death concerned them but they were still hopeful she was alive.

The Islamic State group said on Friday that Kayla Jean Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, died in a Jordanian airstrike, but the government of Jordan dismissed the statement as “criminal propaganda,” and the U.S. said it had not seen any evidence to corroborate the report.

Mueller is the only known remaining U.S. hostage held by the Islamic State group.

If the death is confirmed, she would be the fourth American to die while being held by Islamic State militants. Three others — journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig — were beheaded by the group.

“You told us that you treated Kayla as your guest, as your guest her safety and well-being remains your responsibility,” Mueller’s family said in a short statement released Friday.

The collective said 47 Islamic State group members were killed. It was not clear how the activists obtained the information, which could not be independently verified.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said “dozens” of IS members were killed in coalition airstrikes that targeted a tank and vehicle depot in the area of al-Madajen and at least six other IS positions, including a training camp and a prison.

The Raqqa-based activists and the Observatory both said coalition airstrikes on Raqqa resumed on Saturday, with explosions shaking an IS headquarters known as Division 17 in the city’s northern countryside and an IS camp known as al-Saeqa to the West.

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Associated Press writers Zeina Karam in Beirut, Julie Pace and National Security writer Robert Burns in Washington, and Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.