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Jordanian pilot captured by IS after plane goes down

By Mohammad Ghazal , Khetam Malkawi - Dec 24,2014 - Last updated at Dec 24,2014

AMMAN — A Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot was captured by the Islamic State (IS) Wednesday after his warplane went down in northeastern Syria, the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) said in a statement.

Images of Lieutenant Muath Kasasbeh, 27, from Karak Governorate, appeared on social media after his capture by IS terrorists as the government pledged to continue war on terrorism in defence of Islam.

In the statement, JAF said the fighter went down during a mission against IS in Raqqa, northeast Syria, Wednesday morning and the pilot was taken “hostage”. 

Jordan holds the terrorist group of Islamic State, better known by its Arabic acronym “Daesh”, accountable for the safety of the pilot, the statement said, adding that the terror organisation “does not hide its terrorist schemes, as it has carried out numerous criminal acts and destruction targeting Muslims and non-Muslims in Syria and Iraq”.

His Majesty King Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of JAF, visited the army headquarters on Wednesday to follow up on the issue.

The King was received by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Gen. Mashal Al Zaben and senior commanders. 

During the visit, the King and Zaben discussed army-related issues, according to a Royal Court statement.   

 

Family

 

Muath, who has three brothers and four sisters, is a graduate of King Hussein Air College, according to his relatives.

“I call on those who captured him and on all those who have powers and authorities to intervene to secure the release of my son Muath,” Safi Kasasbeh, his father, told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

“Muath is a very modest and religious person. He memorises the Koran and he was never harmful to anyone,” the father added.

Hassan Kasasbeh, a cousin of the pilot, told The Jordan Times over the phone that “the Morale Guidance Department at the Jordan Armed Forces informed us around 9am today [Wednesday] that Muath’s plane went down and he is in the hands of Daesh fighters in Syria”.

Marwan Kasasbeh, another cousin of Muath, confirmed the news of his capture, saying Muath informed him a few days ago that it was his second mission in the campaign against IS after Jordan joined the US-led international coalition to fight the IS in September.

“We call for exerting all efforts possible to secure his release. His entire family is deeply saddened by the news,” said Marwan over the phone.

 

Reactions

 

Commenting on the capture, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani voiced solidarity with the pilot’s family, describing Muath as a hero.

The minister added that all Jordanians stand behind the Jordanian army in its pursuit to protect the homeland and defend the nation.

“The war on terrorism is ongoing and our battle against it is to defend the moderate faith of Islam,” the minister said in remarks to The Jordan Times.

The capture of the Jordanian pilot triggered angry reactions by Parliament and on social media with Jordanians expressing their sorrow over this incident.

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