Jordan is vowing an “earth-shaking response” after Islamist militants released a video on Tuesday appearing to show a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage.
A Jordanian official said the authorities will execute several militants in retaliation, including an Iraqi woman whom Amman had sought to swap for the pilot taken captive after his plane crashed in Syria in December, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The video showed a man resembling airman Mouath al-Kasaesbeh standing in a small black cage before being set ablaze.
His identity could be be immediately confirmed but Jordan’s reaction showed it treated the video as genuine.
Jordan, which has been mounting air raids in Syria as part of the United States-led alliance against Islamic State insurgents, will deliver a “strong, earth-shaking and decisive” response, a government spokesman said.
“The revenge will be as big as the calamity that has hit Jordan,” army spokesman Col. Mamdouh al Ameri said in a televised statement confirming the death of the pilot.
The fate of Kasaesbeh, a member of a large tribe that forms the backbone of support for the country’s Hashemite monarchy, has gripped Jordan for weeks and some Jordanians have criticised King Abdullah for embroiling them in the US-led war that they say will provoke a blacklash by militants.
The king cut short a US visit to return home after word of Kasaesbeh’s death. In a televised statement, he said the pilot’s killing was an act of “cowardly terror” by a deviant group that had no relation to Islam.
Jordan had sought to swap the pilot for Sajida al-Rishawi, the Iraqi woman militant who was sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman that killed 60 people.
Islamic State had demanded her release in exchange for the life of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. However, Goto, a veteran war reporter, was later beheaded by the group, with images of his death released in a video on Saturday.
The Jordanian security source said Rishawi would be executed “within hours”.
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