News / Middle East

    Islamic State Militants Kill Captured Jordanian Pilot

    A man purported to be Islamic State captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh is seen standing in a cage in this still image from an undated video filmed at an undisclosed location made available on social media on Feb. 3, 2015.
    A man purported to be Islamic State captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh is seen standing in a cage in this still image from an undated video filmed at an undisclosed location made available on social media on Feb. 3, 2015.
    VOA News

    Jordan executed two militants at dawn Wednesday in response to the Islamic State group killing one of its pilots.

    The militants included Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman who was on death row for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman. The Islamic State had demanded she be released.

    Jordanian authorities executed her a day after a video emerged online appearing to show the militant group burning Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh alive while he was locked in a cage. 

    He was captured after his plane went down in Syria in late December while flying as part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group.  He was apparently killed on January 3. 

    Late Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said U.S. officials "have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video."

    Jordan had insisted the militants provide evidence al-Kaseasbeh was alive before they released al-Rishawi in a prisoner exchange.

    A grim-looking Jordanian King Abdullah addressed the nation from Washington, where he had been meeting with U.S. leaders.

    The king was reported to be cutting his U.S. visit short to return to Amman, where people were taking to the streets in protest after learning of the pilot's death, shouting angrily and chanting his name as they called for revenge on Islamic State militants.

    "This is cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam," the king told his people. "The brave pilot gave his life defending his faith, country and nation, and joined other Jordanian martyrs."

    News agencies quoted security sources as saying Jordan plans to execute the Iraqi woman whom Islamic State had demanded Jordan free from prison. Sajida al-Rishawi is on death row in Amman for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing.

    Jordan's participation in coalition airstrikes against fellow Muslims has been unpopular within the country.

    Kaseasbeh was captured in December after his fighter jet crashed near Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the extremist militant organization's proclaimed Islamic caliphate.

    International condemnation

    President Barack Obama, who met with King Abdullah Tuesday, called the video just one more indication of the Islamic State's "viciousness and barbarity."

    "And it, I think, will redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated," the president told reporters. "Whatever ideology they're operating off of, it's bankrupt."

    Vice President Joseph Biden hosted Jordan's King Abdullah at the Naval Observatory Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where he offered condolences to Kasasbeh's family and all Jordanians before condemning the killings and calling for the release of all prisoners held by Islamic State militants.

    Abdullah was in Washington for meetings with Biden and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and was expected to attend Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast. News of the video surfaced just as Kerry had issued a fresh appeal Tuesday for Kaseasbeh's safe return.

    "The people of Jordan need to know that all Americans will join with them in praying for the early and safe return of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh," the captured pilot, Kerry had said shortly after signing a new agreement for U.S. aid to Jordan alongside Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

    See related video by VOA's Pamela Dockins

    US Increases Aid to Jordani
    Pamela Dockins
    February 04, 2015 1:34 AM
    The grim video that appears to show a Jordanian pilot being burned alive by his Islamic State captors emerged Tuesday just as Washington was hosting a meeting for the anti-IS coalition. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh to announce an expanded U.S. aid package to Jordan, a coalition partner. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.

    U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the intelligence community is working to confirm the video's authenticity.

    "The United States strongly condemns [the Islamic State group's] actions and we call for the immediate release of all those held captive by ISIL," she said, using an acronym for the group. "We stand in solidarity with the government of Jordan and the Jordanian people."

    General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the campaign against the militants, issued a statement Tuesday saying Kaseasbeh "served his country courageously and honorably" and was an important member of the anti-IS team.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the pilot's murder and said Islamic State is a terrorist group with no regard for human life.

    "Our brave hero Muath will always be remembered as a symbol of courage," said Jordan's ambassador to the United Nations Dina Kawar, in a post on Twitter. "May God bless his soul and rest him in peace."


    The new U.S. memorandum of understanding signed Tuesday with Jordan also comes as the Middle Eastern nation struggles to support hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

    Kerry said the U.S. will now provide $1 billion a year to Jordan through 2017. He said the amount covers economic, technical and security support and represents an increase from the past five years, when the U.S. gave $600 million a year through the memorandum.

    Kerry said the U.S. is also adding to the $467 million it has already contributed to help Jordan care for refugees from both Syria and Iraq, as well as extending loan guarantees to Amman.

    "Increased need means a requirement for increased help," he said after meeting with both Judeh and Jordan's King Abdullah II.

    Judeh described the new agreement as "another milestone" in the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Jordan, saying U.S. assistance to Jordan "has proved instrumental" to the success of the nation's development and reform program.

    "At this time of peril and turbulence — what's new in our part of the world? — Jordan again is committed to the promotion of stability and peace and security in a region where peace and stability and security have eluded us for many, many years," Judeh said.

    In addition to the fight against the Islamic State, Jordan is also a vital U.S. partner in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

    Jeff Seldin and Carla Babb contributed to this report from Washington.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 8
    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    February 05, 2015 3:50 AM
    No US' invasion to Irag,no the ISIS!

    by: ks
    February 05, 2015 1:23 AM
    Islamic states, collectively do not have the courage to defeat ISIS.
    THe sunni states are financing ISIS directly or indirectly to create and maintain the instability in the region. THe west is looking away because it's mostly muslim killing muslims. This extremist ideology can be defeated if the will is there, but it isn't.

    by: Anonymous
    February 04, 2015 2:19 PM
    Standing with Jordan. I named the enemy 'IT' It has no matter, no nation , no religion, no passport, no mother, no father, no country, no right to exist. A waste of space. Evil has no life and should never be allowed on this earth. As a Christian, I am standing with Jordan against evil matter. God bless you all.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    February 04, 2015 8:22 PM
    Not based on religion? Are you serious? Read the Quran and Hadith before making such ridiculous statements in the name of Jesus! Only in Jewish and Christian ideologies does God have the power to command His people to destroy an enemy. With Islam, Muhammed has given that right to ALL MUSLIMS! Muslims do not have to consult God (Allah) for justification of killing another!!!!!!!!!!!! ISIS is operating by the fundamentals of Islam. Muhammed had decreed that there will be NO PEACE ON EARTH until the world is cleansed of infidels (conversion or death) and unclean Muslims. Muhammed also decreed that all Jews to be killed, not converted!

    by: charlieM from: Florida USA
    February 04, 2015 8:49 AM
    Their religious affiliation is totally irrelevant. These are evil humans!!! PERIOD!!! They are all around us and until we can identify them as such we as a species will continue to be instigated to fight amongst ourselves. wake-up and see what's really going on... They need your hate, bigotry and fear to survive!

    by: Rose from: USA
    February 04, 2015 8:45 AM
    Why do religious people have to be the worst killers in the world? And they use G-d as their righteous back-up. What ever happened to "thou shalt not kill?" Using any name for G-d to kill is wrong. G-d can do his creating and killing. He doesn't need people to do his bidding. I think some sort of mass insanity is going on in the middle east. Satan has made a comfortable home There.

    by: Sid from: USA
    February 04, 2015 8:42 AM
    The real head of the ISIS snakes is in London, his name is Anjum Chaudhry and he is the man that supports ISIS, recruits for them, he has been advocating for Sharia in the UK and for an Islamic state, why have the Brits not done anything? In case you are wondering, I am a Muslim and I want the Brits to wake up and weed out such kinds of Muslims who are not even welcome in Muslim nations.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    February 04, 2015 8:30 PM
    You are a Muslim, really? Then explain to all of us why the Quran and Hadith COMMANDS you to seek out all infidels for conversion or death? Kill all Jews? Kill all unclean Muslims? Muhammed has ordered all Muslims to do this until the world is cleansed with Islam. Muhammed raped, robbed, and beheaded people of caravans in order to survive when he was kicked out of Mecca. He did these things with his disciples, or as we call them....thugs, gangsters, minions! Yet, you people think that was OK. Why? The 'peace' you Muslims claim to represent is the 'peace' that applies only to clean Muslims, not to infidels. (you thought I didn't know that!)
    In Response

    by: Steve
    February 04, 2015 10:27 AM
    Not really, Anjum is no such thing. He's a reactionist like you get some people here, we have so many. I can't see justification condemn one over any far right groups or media, even members of government who need to be locked for preaching hate. I think Muslims have lives and jobs, unless UK government is going money for it, don't expect charity from minority that get abuse. I know I wouldn't, I'm not even muslim, lol.

    by: Sid from: USA
    February 04, 2015 8:35 AM
    I first and foremost blame George Bush for this mess, then I blame ISIS and all who came to take advantage of the Saddam Hussein vacuum created for them by Bush. Which spider hole is the rat George Bush hiding now? and where are his cronies who were so gung ho on invading Iraq including his allies in Canada, UK, are all responsible for this mess, you bunch of liars and FOX News loving crooks.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    February 04, 2015 8:36 PM
    Right on! Love the blame game! Doesn't do anything to help the situation, but at least it's fun to blame someone! When I flipped over my egg this morning, and the yolk broke, I blamed Obama! I had to start over cooking another one, it didn't break, so I thanked Miss Columbia, because she's so hott!!!! When I got a speeding ticket last week, I blamed John Kerry, because he looks like something out of a horror movie! Thanks alot, John Kerry!!!!! Rachel Maddow rules! She's a cute boy!

    by: Erin from: USA
    February 04, 2015 8:21 AM
    These monsters are not Muslims and you don't need to be a Muslim to know that. They are depraved, diseased animals who need to be put down and put down hard.

    by: Anon
    February 04, 2015 8:21 AM
    "This is cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam,"

    Yes, yes it does! They are muslims, they are reading the muslim book! Stop trying to deflect your responsibility! All muslims have the responsibility to denounce this behavior (not when it's their own citizen being killed, but every time) and root it out, just as they say all non-muslims are responsible for not being islamaphobic. But many followers are indifferent because they are muslim brothers whom they even believe have the right to retaliate because they've been offended. Stop trying to say it has nothing to do islam!
    In Response

    by: Steve
    February 04, 2015 9:09 AM
    These people have nothing to do with Islam, why would they kill their own? That makes no sense, no they don't any responsibility to do anything. Get over yourself.
    In Response

    by: Sid from: USA
    February 04, 2015 8:37 AM
    No, Muslims don't have to apologize everytime someone calls themselves a Muslim goes and does something wrong, did you apologize when an American goes out on a killing spree in school?

    by: Moustapha Sekou from: Denver
    February 04, 2015 8:03 AM
    Is time to go with enough force in the ground to exterminate those animals.they are not Muslim.
    Comments page of 8

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