Jordanian fighter jets yesterday flew over the hometown of a pilot killed by Islamic State militants after ending a mission against militants in Syria, a security official said.
Jordan’s King Abdullah was visiting the pilot’s family at the time of the flyover.
The show of force came two days after the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, released a video showing a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.
State television had earlier said the fighter jets had completed a mission, without giving the location of their sortie.
However, a security official confirmed to reporters that the mission was in a location in Syria under Islamic State control and Arabiya TV said it was over Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, in Syria.
The jets “rocked the cowardly terrorists in their holes and hideouts since the morning,” Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh said on Twitter.
Jordan’s military, which is part of the US-led coalition against the group, has vowed to avenge the killing of 26-year-old pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh.
State television showed a somber Abdullah sitting alongside the army chief of staff and senior officials visiting the Kasaesbeh tribal family in Aya, a village near Karak, 100km south of the capital.
The king pointed at the planes as he sat next to the pilot’s father.
Thousands of Jordanians flocked to pay their respects in traditional Arab Bedouin style in a part of the country where influential tribes form an important pillar of the Hashemite rule, supplying the army and security forces with its personnel.
“You are a wise monarch. These criminals violated the rules of war in Islam and they have no humanity. Even humanity disowns them,” Safi Kasaesbeh, the father of the pilot, told the king.
The king had earlier vowed to wage a “harsh” war against the militants, who control parts of Syria and Iraq, because “this terrorist organization is not only fighting us, but also fighting Islam and its pure values.’’
In a statement on Wednesday, he pledged to hit the militants “hard in the very center of their strongholds.”
Mouath al-Kasaesbeh was captured on Dec. 24 last year when his jet crashed over northern Syria on a mission that was part of the coalition air campaign against the Muslim militants.
In a show of support for the king’s decision to continue the strikes, more than 2,000 Jordanians from across the country gathered at a sit-in in Amman, waving flags and pictures of the dead pilot.
“This is our war more than before” and “Moath’s death made us stronger,” some of the banners read.
“After this barbarism, Jordan is directly threatened and we want our army to do its best to take revenge,” said Mohammad Judeh, a retired military officer. “We want our country to have a clear position that it is in an open war against” the Islamic State.
Additional reporting by AP and Bloomberg
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