Jordanian fighter jets pounded Islamic State hideouts in Syria on Thursday and then roared over the hometown of a pilot killed by the militants, while below them King Abdullah consoled the victim’s family.
An armed forces statement said tens of Jordanian fighter jets were deployed in the attacks, which destroyed ammunition depots and training camps run by the Islamic State. The attacks were “just the beginning”, it said.
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.
State television aired footage of fighter jets taking off to carry out the raids. 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. It later broadcast the actual bombing, before the jets returned safely to Jordan.
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.
In a statement, the king said that Jordan is waging a war of principles against the militants. He said that Jordan’s response “will be harsh because this terrorist organisation is not only fighting us, but also fighting Islam and its pure values”.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh later added that the airstrikes marked the beginning of his nation’s retaliation over the pilot’s death, but not the start of its fight against terrorism. He vowed to destroy IS.
“We are upping the ante. We’re going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have. But it’s not the beginning, and it’s certainly not the end,” Judeh said.