Amman. Demonstrations occurred in Jordan shortly after terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) published a new video showing the execution of a Jordanian pilot.
An army spokesman vowed a “revenge [that] will be as big as the calamity that has hit Jordan”. The government announced that it has executed two ISIS-affiliated prisoners in retaliation of the brutal killing of Muath al-Kasasbeh. The Jordanian Air Force pilot was captured after his F-16 crashed due to malfunction in ISIS-held territory at the end of last year.
A video released on Tuesday shows him in a metal cage with his clothes and ground beneath him apparently dampened in fuel. A militant set alight a line of fuel leading into the cage, where the man is engulfed in flames. Militants stoned the burning body and then ran over the cage with a bulldozer. ISIS had previously asked its supporters on Twitter to propose ways to kill the prisoner, and some of the proposals called for him to be beheaded, burned alive or crushed by a bulldozer.
ISIS recently offered to exchange him and a captured Japanese citizen for failed suicide bomber Sajida ar-Rishawi, who was in Jordanian custody. Jordanian television reported however that al-Kasasbeh had been executed a month ago – on January 3. Amman had asked the militants to provide guarantees that the pilot was alive before a swap could be carried out, but ISIS did not deliver them. Ar-Rishawi and another prisoner were hanged hours after the group released the gruesome video.
After news broke out of the execution, demonstrations broke out in al-Kasasbeh’s hometown of Karak. Some of the protests were directed against King Abdullah’s government as protesters believed the government had not done enough to rescue the pilot. Several international leaders and diplomats also responded to the announcement of al-Kasasbeh’s death.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) February 3, 2015
Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh's sickening murder will only strengthen our resolve to defeat ISIL. My prayers are with his family tonight.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) February 3, 2015
Jordan is part of a wide coalition targeting ISIS through daily airstrikes over Iraq and Syria. Jordanian military representatives say the country could now dramatically increase its involvement through a surge in air sorties and special operations against the terrorist group’s leadership.
(Updated status of prisoners in Jordanian custody)