IS publishes 'interview' with captured Jordan pilot

IS publishes 'interview' with captured Jordan pilot
Jordanians gather outside a mosque during Friday prayers, following a demonstration against the Islamic State group and demanding the freedom of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, in downtown Amman.

BEIRUT - The Islamic State group has published what it says is an interview with a Jordanian pilot it captured after his plane crashed in Syria last week.

In the comments attributed to the pilot, he says his plane was hit by a heat-seeking missile, endorsing the jihadist group's version of events, which has been rejected by both Jordan and the United States.

The purported interview published by the IS online English-language magazine Dabiq on Monday is accompanied by photographs of First Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh, 26.

In it, he is quoted as discussing how the air strikes in Syria are coordinated between the countries of the US-led coalition.

He says his role was to destroy anti-aircraft weapons on the ground and to provide cover for the strike aircraft.

Kassasbeh was captured by IS on Dec 24 after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria.

His father, Safi al-Kassasbeh, has urged IS to show "mercy" and treat his son as a "guest".

The crash was the first warplane from the US-led coalition lost in combat since air strikes on IS began in Syria in September, and marked a major propaganda victory for the Sunni extremist group.

Jordan is among a number of countries that have joined the US-led air raids against IS, which has declared a "caliphate" straddling large parts of Iraq and Syria.

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