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IS Kills Captive Jordanian Pilot; Amman Responds By Executing Militants

  • RFE/RL

A Jordanian girl holds a picture of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh during a prayer vigil in Amman on February 2.

A Jordanian girl holds a picture of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh during a prayer vigil in Amman on February 2.

Jordan has executed would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and another Iraqi militant after the Islamic State (IS) extremist group released of a video appearing to show a captured Jordanian pilot being burned to death in a cage.

Rishawi was reportedly hanged at dawn on February 4 along with Ziyad Karboli, an Iraqi Al-Qaeda operative who was convicted in 2008 of killing a Jordanian.

Rishawi had been on death row for her role in a triple hotel bombing in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in 2005 that killed dozens of people.

IS militants had demanded the release of Rishawi in exchange for the release of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, who was captured at the end of December when his plane crashed in Syria.

A video posted on the Internet by IS militants on February 3 appears to show Kasasbeh being burned alive.

Jordan had vowed a swift and lethal response to the killing of Kasasbeh.

Jordanian King Abdullah was in the United States when news broke about the video appearing to show the pilot's grisly murder.

In a statement broadcast on Jordanian television, the king said Kasasbeh's killing was "cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam."

Abdullah cut short his visit to the United States to return home and held a brief unscheduled meeting with President Barack Obama before leaving.

Obama offered his condolences and condemned the "cowardice and depravity" of IS for executing the Jordanian pilot.

Jordan's military had vowed "punishment and revenge" against IS militants after the video was posted and security officials were already saying al-Rishawi would be executed soon.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his condolences to Jordan over the pilot's killing.

Abe told parliament on February 4, "I feel an intense sense of anger and outrage upon hearing that the Jordanian pilot...was horrifically burned to death."

IS militants have killed two Japanese hostages in the last two weeks.

Jordanian and Japanese officials were hopeful Japanese hostage Kenji Goto could be part of an exchange of Kasasbeh for Rishawi until a video was posted on January 31 claiming Goto had been decapitated.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP