Jordan denies ISIS shot down its warplane

Safi al-Kasaesbeh (2nd L), father of Jordanian pilot Muath, who was captured by ISIS after his plane came down near Raqqa in Syria on Wednesday, speaks on a telephone as he sits with relatives following the news of his son, in the house of a relative in Amman. (Reuters)

Jordan’s military Friday denied claims by ISIS to have shot down one of its warplanes which crashed in Syria, after the pilot was captured by the jihadists.

“First indications show that the crash of the Jordanian military plane in the area of the Syrian city of Raqa was not caused by Daesh fire,” a military official said using another name for ISIS.

“But since the wreckage of the plane cannot be reached and since its pilot is not present, we cannot at this moment determine the exact cause of the crash,” the official said in remarks published on the army’s website.

Muath al-Kassasbeh, a 26-year-old first lieutenant in the Jordanian air force, was captured by ISIS on Wednesday after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria.

The U.S. military has also dismissed the jihadists’ claim to have hit the jet with an anti-aircraft missile, saying “evidence clearly suggests that ISIL (ISIS) did not down the aircraft.”

The crash was the first warplane from the U.S.-led coalition lost since air strikes on ISIS began in Syria in September, and marks a major propaganda victory for the Sunni extremist group.

Jordan is among a number of countries that have joined the air raids against ISIS.

Coalition warplanes have carried out regular strikes around Raqa, which ISIS has used as its de facto capital since declaring a “caliphate” in June straddling large parts of Iraq and Syria.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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