Middle East

Islamic State crisis: Jordan air strikes 'destroy' IS hideouts

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Jordanian fighter jet over village of Aya Image copyright AP
Image caption Jordanian aircraft flew over the pilot's village, south of Amman, a day after news of his death shocked Jordan

Jordan says it has carried out 56 air strikes in three days on Islamic State logistics sites and hideouts.

"We achieved what we aimed at," Air Force chief Gen Mansour al-Jbour said.

Jordan intensified its strikes after captured pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was shown being burned alive by IS.

Jordan has carried out nearly 20% of all sorties by the US-led coalition against IS in Syria so far, Gen Jbour said, adding: "We are determined to wipe them from the face of the Earth."

IS seized control of large areas of Iraq and Syria last year, prompting hundreds of raids by coalition war planes.

The focus of Jordan's air strikes is reported to be Raqqa, the IS stronghold in Syria, but no specifics were given.

Gen Jbour said the strikes had degraded nearly 20% of the militants' capabilities.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Gen Jbour says Jordan's plan of destroying Islamic State is being carried out

IS militants said that one of the strikes killed US aid worker Kayla Mueller, although the claim could not be verified.

A video of Lt Kasasbeh, 26, being burned alive in a cage, was posted online by IS earlier this week.

He was captured by the militants in December after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria. The video is believed to have been filmed on 3 January.

Jordan had offered to swap Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed female suicide bomber, for the captured pilot. Jordan executed Rishawi and another convicted al-Qaeda operative on Wednesday.

Timeline: Jordanian pilot held hostage

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh had been held hostage since his plane came down on 24 December

24 December 2014: Jordanian Lt Moaz Youssef al-Kasasbeh captured by IS after his plane crashes

25 December 2014: Pilot's father urges IS to show mercy

20 January 2015: IS threatens to kill two Japanese hostages unless Japan pays $200m ransom within 72 hours

24 January: IS releases video of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding a picture apparently showing Haruna Yukawa's decapitated body

24 January: IS calls for release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi militant sentenced to death in Jordan

28 January: Jordan offers to release Rishawi in exchange for Lt Kasasbeh

29 January: Deadline to kill Lt Kasasbeh and Mr Goto expires

31 January: Video released appearing to show Kenji Goto's body

3 February: Video released appearing to show Lt Kasasbeh burnt alive, with Jordanian media suggesting he was killed weeks earlier

Profile: Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh