White House: U.S. Woman Still Held Hostage by ISIS

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A official on Sunday noted that an American woman remains a hostage of ISIS, noting the administration would spare "no expense" in seeking the safe return of those held by the group.

Dennis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff, made the comments in an interview with ABC while reacting to an announcement on Saturday by ISIS claiming that it had beheaded a Japanese man.

"As it relates to our hostages, we are obviously continuing to work those matters very, very aggressively. We are sparing no expense and sparing no effort, both in trying to make sure that we know where they are and make sure that we're prepared to do anything we must to try to get them home,” McDonough said.

"But [the woman's] family knows how strongly the president feels about this and we will continue to work this.”

McDonough accidentally blurted the woman's name out, the White House later said, but NBC and other news organizations have declined to name her out of respect for her family, which believes that would further jeopardize her life.

The woman was taken hostage Aug. 4, 2013, while on a humanitarian mission in the region. ISIS demanded a $6.6 million ransom for her freedom, and/or the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of attempted murder by a New York federal court in 2010.

ISIS has previously executed American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.


— Miranda Leitsinger