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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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Jordan king vows war against Islamic State for killing captive pilot

Amman swiftly executed two terrorist prisoners

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King Abdullah of Jordan news

AMMAN, Jordan - King Abdullah of Jordan has vowed a "relentless" war against Islamic State militants on their own territory as Amman swiftly executed two terrorist prisoners in retaliation for the Islamic State's grisly killing of a Jordanian pilot.

The Islamic State video showing the brutal killing of Jordanian air force pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh has stoked anger in the Arab kingdom.

Muslim clerics have denounced the Islamist militants over the burning to death of al-Kaseasbeh, saying such a form of killing was considered an abomination under Islam.

Jordan, which has participated in a U.S.-led military campaign to bomb Islamic State positions, executed two terrorist prisoners with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq.

One of them was Sajida al-Rishawi, a would-be suicide bomber whose release the Islamic State had demanded.

Jordan had refused to move forward without proof that al-Kaseasbeh was still alive. The other was a former top lieutenant of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Ziad al-Karbouli. Both were executed Wednesday at dawn, less than 12 hours after the Islamic State released the video of the killing of the pilot.

Jordan has 100 more prisoners on death row, but only three are known to have been convicted of terrorism offenses.

The IS video emerged online Tuesday purporting to show al-Kaseasbeh locked inside a cage, and a militant lighting a trail of gasoline that reached the cage and burned him to death.

"The U.S. intelligence community has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video," said Brian P. Hale, director of public relations for the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Jordan has said al-Kaseasbeh, 26, was killed a month ago. He was captured in Syria after his F-16 went down while flying as part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets.

"This is cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam," a grim-looking King Abdullah told the Jordanian people from Washington on Tuesday. "The brave pilot gave his life defending his faith, country and nation, and joined other Jordanian martyrs."

President Barack Obama, who met briefly with King Abdullah, said the video is just one more indication of the Islamic State's "viciousness and barbarity."

"And it, I think, will redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated," the president told reporters.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the pilot's murder and said Islamic State is a terrorist group with no regard for human life.

Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque said the IS militants deserve the Quranic punishment of death, crucifixion or the chopping off of their arms for being enemies of God and the Prophet Muhammad.

Protesters gathered in the streets of the Jordanian capital, Amman, and in the home town of the pilot al-Kasasbeh.

Cheering crowds expressed support for the country's swift executions of the two terrorist prisoners in retaliation for the Islamic State's grisly killing of the pilot

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