Jordan Executes Death Row Jihadists After Pilot Killing

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Jordan has executed two convicts who had been on death row including a female jihadist following the killing of its air force pilot by Islamic State militants yesterday.  The woman, failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and al-Qaeda operative Ziyad Karboli were both Iraqi nationals and were hanged at dawn.  Karboli had been convicted in 2008 for the murder of a Jordanian national.

The executions followed just hours after IS posted a video apparently showing pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive.  He had been captured after an anti-IS mission in December over Syria and Jordan had attempted to secure his release with a swap for Rishawi.

Response

The two prisoners were executed at 04:00 local time, according to the government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani.  It followed Jordan vowing an ‘earth-shattered’ response to the posting of a video showing their pilot in a cage, engulfed in flames.

Armed forces spokesman Mamdouh al-Ameri had said on Tuesday that Lt Kasasbeh had ‘fallen as a martyr’ and that his blood had not been shed in vain.  He added that the country’s revenge and punishment would be as huge as the loss of the Jordanians.

State TV said they had reports that Lt Kasasbeh had been killed as much as a month ago.  Jordan had been attempting to secure his release with a prisoner swap for Rishawi but the group had been seeking her releases as part of the deal to free Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.  A video showing his dead body had been released four days ago.

Shocked

Experts on the region said that they believe IS never had any intention of letting the pilot free and that he had been killed on 3rd January before prisoner exchange talks even became serious.  It shows a cynical manipulation by IS of information warfare, attempting to create problems for the Jordanian authorities and weaken the Arab-Western coalition as it begins to have success on the ground.

Response around the world has been one of shock, as people already horrified by the murder of two Japanese citizens had to face the terrible images of the pilot.  It is believed that the aim of the video is to affect public opinion in Jordan and other Arab countries.

But it may not work as IS expects.  Jordan’s King Abdullah hailed Lt Kasasbeh as a hero and called for his people to stand united in the face of this hardship.  The king cut back a visit to the US but met with President Obama on Tuesday evening before he flew home.

Mr Obama said the video, if real, showed another sign of the ‘viciousness and barbarity’ of IS.  He added that he thought it would redouble the vigilance and determination of the global coalition to ensure the group is ultimately defeated.


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