Jordan military jets pound IS as king comforts pilot's family

Jordan military jets pound IS as king comforts pilot's family

AMMAN - Jordanian fighter jets pounded Islamic State targets in Syria on Thursday, before roaring over the hometown of the pilot killed by the militants while King Abdullah consoled the victim's family.

A statement from the Jordanian armed forces said tens of jets were deployed in the attacks, which destroyed ammunition depots and training camps run by the Islamic State.

Witnesses overheard the monarch telling the pilot's father the planes were returning from the militant-held city of Raqqa. A security source told Reuters the strikes hit targets in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor as well as near Raqqa.

The show of force came two days after the ultra-hardline Islamic State released a video showing captured Jordanian pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh being burned alive in a cage as masked militants in camouflage uniforms looked on.

"It's actually the beginning of our retaliation over this horrific and brutal murder of our brave young pilot, but it's not the beginning of our fight against terrorism and extremism," Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said in an interview with CNN later on Thursday.

State television aired footage of fighter jets taking off to carry out the raids. It later broadcast footage of the actual bombing before the jets returned safely to Jordan.

Several men and women were shown writing Koranic verses and anti-Islamic State slogans on what appeared to be the bombs used in the attacks.

"We're going after them with everything that we have," Judeh said.

US military aircraft joined the mission to provide intelligence, surveillance as well as reconnaissance and targeting support, a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official also said the strikes focussed on multiple targets around Raqqa.

Military commanders briefed King Abdullah after the missions about the details of the strikes, state television said. The monarch has vowed to avenge Kasaesbeh's killing and ordered commanders to prepare for a stepped-up military role in the US-led coalition against the group.

But many Jordanians fear being dragged into a conflict that could trigger a backlash by hardline militants inside the kingdom.

Jordan is a major US ally in the fight against militant Islamist groups, and hosted US troops during operations that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The country is also home to hundreds of US military trainers bolstering defences at the Syrian and Iraqi borders and is determined to keep the jihadists in Syria away from its frontiers.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.