4 Feb 2015

Jordan executes two jihadists in response to pilot killing

Jordan hangs two convicted Iraqi jihadists in response to Islamic State’s apparent killing of one of its fighter pilots, Muath al-Kasasbeh.

One of the executed jihadists was the woman who Islamic State (IS) had demanded be released in exchange for a Japanese hostage who was later killed.

Sajida al-Rishawi was sentenced to death in 2005 for her a role in a suicide bomb attack in Amman.

She was hanged along with a senior al Qaeda prisoner, an Iraqi man who was sentenced to death in 2008, identified as Ziyad Karboli.

Jordan had promised an “earth-shaking response” to the killing of its pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, who was captured in December when his F-16 crashed over north eastern Syria.

‘Burned alive’

IS released a video which purportedly showed his murder. Jordanian TV says the pilot was killed a month ago, on 3 January.

A video released by IS media channel al-Furqan appeared to show al-Kasasbeh being burned alive.

The pilot was seized by IS militants after his jet crashed in north east Syria in December during a bombing mission against the militants.

The head of the Jordanian armed forces told al-Kasasbeh’s family that he had been killed, Reuters reported.

Some Jordanians had criticised their monarch King Abdullah for embroiling them in the US-led war that they say will provoke a militant backlash.

The Jordanian army has vowed to avenge his death – and some analysts believe it could escalate its involvement in the campaign against IS, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, Jordan’s neighbours to the north and east.

Rishawi, in her mid-forties, was sentenced to death for her role in the 2005 suicide attack at a luxury hotel in Amman. She was meant to die in the attack – the worst in Jordan’s history – but her suicide bomb belt did not go off.

Scores of Jordanians, infuriated by Kasaesbeh’s killing, gathered at midnight in a main square in Amman calling for revenge and her quick execution.

Holding placards showing images of the pilot, several young people chanted “Death, Death to Daesh”, using a pejorative Arabic acronym for IS.