Jordan is going after Islamic State group militants wherever they are and plans to “wipe them out completely,” Jordan’s interior minister said, as Jordanian fighter jets struck the group’s positions for the third consecutive day Saturday.
It was the latest in a series of warnings of harsh retaliation after the militants, also known as ISIS and ISIL, released a video of them burning a Jordanian pilot to death in a cage. The gruesome images sparked widespread anger in Jordan and the region.
The kingdom joined a U.S.-led military coalition in September, but said after the killing of the pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, that it would intensify its air attacks. Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali said al-Kaseasbeh’s killing was a turning point for Jordan.
He told the state-run al-Rai newspaper in comments published yesterday that Jordan will go after the militants “wherever they are.”
The most recent airstrikes are “the beginning of a continued process to eliminate them and wipe them out completely,” he said of the militants who control about a third of neighboring Syria and Iraq.
The heightened confrontation has raised concerns about possible Islamic State group attacks in Jordan.
The minister said security services have a tight grip and are ready for “anyone who wants to interfere in the security of Jordan.”
U.A.E sends fighter jets to aid Jordan
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates said yesterday it ordered a squadron of F-16 fighters to Jordan, demonstrating support for Jordan’s pledge to hunt down ISIS militants and “wipe them out completely.”
It was not clear from the announcement, carried by the state news agency WAM, if Emirati aircraft will carry out air strikes against ISIS from Jordan. Emirati and Jordanian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Both countries are members of a U.S.-led military coalition against the militants, but U.S. officials have said the U.A.E suspended its airstrikes late last year after Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, crashed over Islamic State group-held territory in northern Syria in late December and was taken captive.
The U.A.E, which hosts air bases used by American and coalition partners, has not commented on suspending its strikes.
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