In what is perhaps its most brutal execution to date, the Islamic State burned alive a Jordanian pilot who was captured in late December 2014 after his warplane was purportedly shot down over Syria.
The Islamic State murdered First Lieutenant Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah, the Jordanian pilot, at the end of a lengthy 22-minute-long video that was released by the group today, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
“The video shows media footage of Jordan’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition against IS [Islamic State] and then shows al Kasasibah discussing Jordan’s operations in a news-style monologue bearing a black eye,” according to a summary by SITE.
“Afterward, the video goes back and forth between shots of al Kasasibah surrounded by fighters and shots of aftermath of bombings. At the end of the video, al Kasasibah stands inside of a cage and is burned alive by fighters,” SITE noted.
Kasasibah’s F-16 was downed in Raqqah province in Syria on Dec. 24, 2014. The Islamic State claimed it shot down the aircraft. US officials subsequently denied that the plane had been downed by the Islamic State. [See LWJ report, Islamic State shoots down Jordanian warplane in Raqqah, captures pilot.]
The Islamic State demanded that the Jordanian government free Sajida al Rishawi, a would-be female suicide bomber for al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State, who failed to detonate at a hotel in Amman in 2005, in exchange for the pilot. Her husband successfully detonated his bomb in the same operation. Her brother was also a senior leader and aide to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the founder of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Kasasibah is the third foreigner to be executed by the Islamic State in the past two weeks. Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, two Japanese citizens, were beheaded by the group. The Islamic State demanded $200 million in ransom and also intertwined their release to the release of Rishawi. [[See LWJ report, Islamic State beheads second Japanese hostage.]
The Islamic State has publicized the executions of American and British hostages, as well as mass executions of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers and auxiliaries. But none of them have been burned alive. The other victims were all either shot or beheaded.
According to an unconfirmed report, Jordan has threatened to respond to the murder of Kasasibah by expediting the execution of Islamic State members and other jihadists who are currently in custody.