U.S. President Barack Obama says he is 'heartbroken' over the death of American hostage Kayla Mueller, but defends U.S. policy not to pay ransom.
Kayla Mueller expressed her solidarity with the Syrian people in a video she posted in October 2011. In August 2013 she was kidnapped in Syria. After 18 months as an Islamic State captive she is now dead. In an interview with Buzzfeed, U.S. President Barack Obama says his heart is broken. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "My immediate reaction is heartbreak. Obama also defending the White House policy not to pay ransoms. SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: We devoted enormous resources, always devote enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world. And I deployed an entire operation -- at significant risk -- to rescue not only her but the other individuals who had been held, and probably missed them by a day or two, precisely because we had that commitment. The one thing that we have held to is a policy of not paying ransoms with an organization like ISIL and the reason is that once we start doing that, not only are we financing their slaughter of innocent people and strengthening their organization, but we're actually making Americans even greater targets for future kidnappings. The circumstances of her death are unclear. Islamic State says she was killed when Jordanian fighter jets bombed a building where she was being held. Jordan and U.S. officials have expressed doubt about that account of her death.