ISIS video claims burning Jordanian pilot alive
Jordan’s armed forces vow to avenge the killing of Moaz al-Kasasbeh
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Tuesday published a video allegedly showing the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was captured by the militant group in December after his fighter F-16 jet crashed.
The 22-minute video began with an indictment of Jordan for its participation in the U.S.–led coalition against the militant group, blaming the country’s government for what happened to the pilot.
Al-Kasasbeh then appeared, trembling and with bruises on his face, discussing his last attacking mission which ended with his F-16 fighter jet crashing near Raqaa, the de facto capital of ISIS.
The man then appeared confined in a cage as one ISIS militant carrying a torch lights a long fuse that reaches to the cage. Subsequent footage showed the man being engulfed by fire inside the cage before he collapsed. A bulldozer approached and buried him.
The Jordanian government confirmed ISIS had killed the captive pilot and said this had happened on Jan. 3, state television reported.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s armed forces vowed to avenge the killing of the pilot. “The blood of the martyr will not have been shed in vain and... vengeance will be proportional to this catastrophe that has struck all Jordanians,” said army spokesman General Mamduh al-Amiri.
Jordan's King Abdullah cut short a visit to Washington after the news of the pilot's death. He also appeared on television describing killing of Kasaesbeh as an act of “cowardly” terror by a group that had nothing to do with Islam.
“This (is) cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam ... It's the duty of all citizens to stand together,” he said in a short televised appearance.
The White House said the U.S. intelligence community was working to authenticate the video and it condemned the militant group.
President Barack Obama said that if the video purporting to show the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot is authenticated, it just shows the organization's “barbarity.”
“Should in fact this video be authentic, it's just one more indication of the viciousness (and) barbarity of this organization,” Obama said, adding it would “redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of the global coalition to make sure” the ISIS group is “ultimately defeated.”
Earlier, the White House issued a statement saying: “The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all those held captive by ISIL.”
“We stand in solidarity with the Government of Jordan and the Jordanian people,” White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meeha said.
The general leading the U.S.-led war against ISIS denounced the “savage” execution of the Jordanian pilot.
“U.S. Central Command strongly condemns ISIL's savage murder” of Kasasbeh and “will fight this barbaric enemy until it is defeated,” General Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.
ISIS had demanded the Jordanian government release Sajida al-Rishawi, a prisoner on death row for terror-related crimes, as part of a swap deal for the release of Kasasbeh. But Amman insisted on proof that the pilot was alive before any exchange.
Following the pilot’s horrific killing, a security official told AFP that Jordan will execute the female would-be bomber on Wednesday.
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