A third American hostage, held by the Islamic militant group the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, has been identified as a 26-year-old, female aid worker who was kidnapped a year ago while doing humanitarian work in Syria.
ABC News reports that the group threatens to execute the woman if their demands for her release are not met. The woman is the third of at least four Americans, known to be held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the group commonly referred to by the acronym ISIS.
Last week the group beheaded American journalist James Foley in a gruesome video that was posted to numerous social media websites. Another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was seen alive in the same video. Fox News reports Sotloff is presumed to still be held captive by ISIS.
The family of the American woman whose life is now threatened has asked that news agencies not release her name. ISIS has demanded $6.6 million in exchange for her life. The group also demanded that the U.S. release from prison Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted in 2010 of plotting to kill U.S. officials two years earlier.
Siddiqui was reportedly married to the nephew of al-Qaida lieutenant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003. She earned degrees from M.I.T. and Brandeis University. She was sentenced to 86 years in federal prison and remains in custody in Texas.
Her family released a letter after learning of the demands from ISIS.
“If the issue is true, we would like to state that our family does not have any connections to such groups or actions,” the letter read. “We believe in a struggle that is peaceful and dignified. Associating Aafia’s name with acts of violence is against everything we are struggling for.”
A U.S. State Department spokesman declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.
Apart from taking hostages and issuing ransom demands, ISIS is also responsible for much of the violence in northern Iraq and Syria in recent weeks.
The Obama administration has been bombing ISIS locations in Iraq for over a week. The Daily Beast reported Wednesday the administration has begun conducting surveillance flights over Syria, a move regarded by many as a precursor to bombing operations in that country as well.
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