Jordan Vows “Earth Shattering” Response After Pilot’s Execution

ISIS terrorists reportedly executed the Jordanian pilot the group captured in December, drawing a ferocious response from Jordan on Tuesday. Royal Jordanian Air Force 1st Lt. Moaz al-Kassasbeh was captured after his F-16 crashed near Ar Raqqah, Syria, during a mission. His status has been unknown since, but a video released by ISIS allegedly shows the pilot being burned alive. Amman’s reaction was swift, with Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Al Momani declaring the country’s response would be “Earth shattering,” reported Agence France-Presse. The news wire also reported that Sajida al-Rishawi, the failed suicide bomber ISIS sought to trade for the pilot, would be executed Wednesday. Jordan’s King Abdullah cut short his visit to the United States, and was returning to Jordan as of Tuesday evening. The pilot “gave his life defending his faith, country, and nation,” Abdullah said in a statement, in which he also urged all Jordanians to unite. Statements from several Middle Eastern governments expressed solidarity with Jordan, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, and others. President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also released statements expressing condolences to Jordan. “This act of despicable barbarity only strengthens our shared resolve,” Hagel said. US Central Command boss Army Gen. Lloyd Austin spoke with Jordanian Gen. Mashal al Zaben, the chief of staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces, on Tuesday “and assured him that we stand with our Jordanian partners and together we will fight this barbaric enemy until it is defeated,” according to a Pentagon release. (White House statement)