Moaz al-Kasasbeh: Jordan bombs ISIS targets after pilot’s death
Jordan’s warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (ISIS) targets since the militants released a video showing the killing of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
On their way back, the planes flew over the village of Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
Their flight coincided with a visit to the village by King Abdullah II, who was meeting the pilot’s family.
King Abdullah II has vowed to the step up the fight against ISIS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition bombing the militants.
Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by the militants last year after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria. ISIS this week released a video showing the pilot being burned alive in a cage, sparking outrage and calls for revenge in Jordan.
State television pictures on February 5 showed the king sitting somber-faced with Saif al-Kasasbeh, the pilot’s father, at a gathering in Aya village, near the city of Karak, south of the capital Amman.
The king gestured to the skies as the warplanes flew overhead, the Associated Press news agency said.
Saif al-Kasasbeh told mourners that the aircraft were returning from a raid on Syria’s Raqqa, the de facto capital of the militants’ self-declared caliphate, which spans territory in Iraq and Syria.
While Jordan did not specify the location of the air strikes, a security official quoted by Reuters said they had targeted ISIS in Syria.
However, anti-ISIS activists in Raqqa said there were no coalition air strikes in the city on February 4.
“The response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe,” King Abdullah said, after cutting short a trip to the US this week.
Jordan responded to the release of the gruesome video, which depicted the caged pilot engulfed in flames, by executing two convicts, including Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed female suicide bomber.
Jordan had earlier sought to secure the pilot’s release in a swap involving Rishawi.
However, it is now believed that IS had killed the pilot a month ago.
Saif al-Kasasbeh praised the king and condemned the militants.
“You are a wise monarch,” the Reuters quotes him as saying.
“These criminals violated the rules of war in Islam and they have no humanity. Even humanity disowns them.”
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