The military operation targeting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named for Kayla Mueller, the humanitarian aid worker the terrorist leader captured and tortured until her death in 2015. “One of the things that Gen. [Mark] Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did was named the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“And that was something that people should know,” he added. “But justice was brought to those Americans who were so brutally killed, as were others, as the president pointed out.” Mueller, of Prescott, Ariz., was 25 when she was taken captive by ISIS in August 2013 after crossing the Turkish border into Syria to visit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo. She was held for 18 months before her death was announced in 2015. Her father said al-Baghdadi is responsible for her death.
“She was held in many prisons,” Carl Mueller told the Arizona Republic. “She was held in solitary confinement. She was tortured. She was intimidated. She was ultimately raped by al-Baghdadi himself.” “I still want to know, where is Kayla and what truly happened to her and what aren’t we being told,” her mother, Marsha Mueller, told the paper. “Someone knows, and I’m praying with all my heart that someone in this world will bring us those answers.”
Marsha Mueller praised President Trump for approving the mission. “I still say Kayla should be here, and if [former President] Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been,” she said. “What [al-Baghdadi] did to her was incredible,” he said. “He kept her in captivity for a long period of time. He kept her in his captivity, his personal captivity. She was a beautiful woman, a beautiful young woman. Helped people. She was there to help people.
“And he saw her and he thought she was beautiful, and … he killed her. He was an animal, and he was a gutless animal.”