Oct 27, 2019

Baghdadi operation named after captured humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the operation against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named after humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was captured and enslaved by ISIS in 2013.

"We finally brought justice to a man that beheaded the three Americans, two journalists and a humanitarian worker. Kayla Mueller was working as a humanitarian worker — a great, young, American, idealistic girl. And one of the things Gen. Milley did is Gen. Milley named the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller."
— Robert O'Brien

Context: The 26-year-old Mueller was taken hostage by ISIS in August 2013 while doing relief work with Syrian refugees. U.S. officials said Baghdadi repeatedly raped Mueller while she was held in his compound. In February 2015, Mueller's family and the White House said in separate statements that she had died — one of four American hostages killed while held by ISIS.

The big picture: Diane Foley, mother of journalist James Foley who was beheaded by ISIS in 2014, issued a statement on Baghdadi's death on behalf of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.

“I am grateful to our President and brave troops for finding ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi. I hope this will hinder the resurgence of terror groups and pray that captured ISIS fighters will be brought to trial and held accountable.
I remain concerned about the dozen Americans held hostage in Syria, including Austin Tice and Majd Kamalmaz.
And I ask President Trump to make them, and all American hostages, a priority."

Go deeper: Trump says he didn't inform Democrats of Baghdadi raid because of potential leaks

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