ISIL has identified a third American hostage, a 26-year-old American woman who had been doing humanitarian relief work in Syria before being kidnapped a year ago, ABC News has reported. In exchange for her life, the group is demanding $6.6 million and the release of prisoners being held by the U.S.
The woman, who had been working in a hospital in Aleppo, is the third of at least four Americans known to be held by the terror group. The other known Americans include journalists Steven Sotloff and the late James Foley.
In addition to the multimillion dollar ransom, ISIL asked for the U.S. to release Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist who in 2010 was convicted of trying to kill U.S. officials. Siddiqui's family replied to the hostage negotiations with a letter obtained by ABC News (using "ISIS," the group's alternate name):
If the issue is true, we would like to state that our family does not have any connections to such groups or actions... 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.
While we deeply appreciate the sincere feelings of those who, like us, wish to see the freedom of our beloved Aafia, we cannot agree with a 'by any means necessary' approach to Aafia's freedom. Nor can we accept that someone else's daughter or sister suffer like Aafia is suffering.
Mauri Saalakhan of the Peace and Justice Foundation held a press conference Monday and spoke on behalf of the Siddiqui family. Saalakhan stated the following:
We just have to do the right thing because it is the right thing, without any strings attached.. And the right thing would be to let this young woman go back to her family, go back to her life. And the right thing for America to do, for our government… would be to do the same with Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
Meanwhile, authorities are still working to identify the man in the video of Foley's execution. The U.S. military has continued to bomb ISIL targets in Iraq, and President Obama has approved surveillance flights over Syria, reported The New York Times, possibly in anticipation of attacking targets there.
Correction: An earlier version of this post suggested that the family had identified the woman being held hostage by ISIL, but that was not the case. She has not been identified publicly by her family, and they have in fact requested that she not be named by the media. We regret the error.