Jordanian fighter pilots carried out devastating sorties against ISIS early Thursday, making good on their king’s vow of vengeance for the horrific burning death of a captured airman — whose hometown the jets buzzed triumphantly after the mission.
Reports from the Middle East said the latest strikes killed 55 members of ISIS, including a senior commander known as the “Prince of Nineveh.” They came a day after King Abdullah stepped up his angry rhetoric at the terrorist army in neighboring Iraq and Syria following the horrific death of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive in a cage in a shocking atrocity caught on a videotape released by Islamic State on Tuesday.
“The blood of martyr Muath al-Kaseasbeh will not be in vain and the response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe,” said King Abdullah in a statement released by the royal court on Wednesday. A day earlier, he told U.S. lawmakers in Washington, where he had been on a diplomatic mission when the video was released, that Jordan would fight Islamic State until it ran “out of fuel and bullets.”
Jordanian state-run media did not specify where the strikes took place, but a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News that one strike involving “multiple Jordanian aircraft” took place at Thursday at 1 p.m. local time near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, and said “lots of ammunition” was expended.
Jordan had previously been divided on its participation in airstrikes against Islamic State, with many questioning why the country was involving itself in the fight. But rage expressed on the street and given clear voice by the king has shown public sentiment in Jordan, where the military is revered, is solidly behind the newly invigorated campaign.
Jordan’s information minister, Mohammad al-Momani told AFP: Amman was “more determined than ever to fight the terrorist group Daesh,” using another name for Islamic State, which is also commonly referred to as ISIS. And a government spokesman said Jordan would step up its role in the U.S.-led fight against the militant group.
Thursday’s airstrikes came just hours after Jordan executed two militant prisoners in response to the killing of Kasseasbeh. But the pilot’s father told Reuters the two executions were not enough to avenge his son’s death.
“I want the state to get revenge for my son’s blood through more executions of those people who follow this criminal group that shares nothing with Islam,” Safi al-Kasseasbeh told Reuters