Jordan: Pilot murder ‘turning point’ in ISIS fight

Air strikes carried out so far by Jordan’s air force were 'the beginning of an ongoing process to eliminate' ISIS

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The burning alive of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State group is a “turning point” in the kingdom’s fight against the jihadists, a minister said in remarks published Saturday.

Air strikes carried out so far by Jordan’s air force were “the beginning of an ongoing process to eliminate” ISIS, Interior Minister Hussein Majali said, quoted by government newspaper Al-Rai.

For the third day, Jordan carried out air strikes on ISIS targets on Saturday. In the same day, the U.S.-led forces also launched 26 air strikes against the militant group in Syria and Iraq.

Amman said its warplanes launched dozens of strikes on Thursday against the Sunni Muslim extremist group after threatening a harsh response to the murder of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

ISIS said the strikes near its self-proclaimed capital of Raqa killed U.S. aid worker Kayla Jean Mueller, who was kidnapped in August 2013, but the United States said there was no proof to support the claim.

Majali said the Jordanian air strikes that destroyed the “terrorist” group’s facilities, arms depots and training centers on Thursday were the start of a campaign to “wipe them out completely”.

“The state of Jordan is entitled to retaliate against this terrorist organization, and we will pursue it wherever it is,” he told Al-Rai.

“History shows that Jordan never forgets to avenge (such attacks), no matter how long it takes... we have the resources to deal with this.

“The day of the hero, martyr pilot’s assassination is a turning point in Jordan’s history in order to face this horrific crime that was committed by the cowardly terrorist organization,” said the minister.

Jordan is part of the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS, which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and imposed an extreme interpretation of Islam on the areas under its control.

It said it had expanded its air strikes to Iraq, after the jihadist group released a video online this week showing its militants burning alive Kasasbeh, who was captured when his F-16 fighter jet went down during a mission over Syria.

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