ISIS has released a video showing the execution of Moaz al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian pilot it had been holding hostage since December 24, 2014. Lt. al-Kasasbeh was captured near Raqqa, Syria, when his plane crashed during a mission with the U.S.-led coalition forces. This time, instead of beheading their captive, the terrorists have burned him to death. Reaction around the world has been one of horror.
The video shows Lt. al-Kasasbeh held in a cage, apparently doused with fuel. A rope around his waist is set fire, and the fire consumes him. His screams are audible. After he is dead, a bulldozer rolls over the cage. ISIS actually held a Twitter campaign in advance, asking supporters for ideas about how to execute him.
The National Security Council issued a statement:
…We are aware of the video purporting to show that Jordanian 1st Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh has been murdered by the terrorist group [the Islamic State]. The intelligence community is working to confirm its authenticity.
Jordan has since confirmed the authenticity of the video. Dubai television network Al Arabiya reported that the Jordanian military had notified al-Kaseasbeh’s family that he had been killed. Jordanian TV reported that the pilot was murdered on January 3rd.
Jordan had twice offered a prisoner exchange for the female suicide-bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who had been sentenced to death in Jordan for an attempted bombing in Amman in 20015. Jordan apparently failed to receive the proof of life it had requested, and it responded with a threat of its own.
Elijah Magnier, a correspondent for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai, reported:
I have reliable contact in the Jordanian government who says a message has been passed to ISIS… It warns that if they kill the pilot they will implement the death sentences for Sajida and other ISIS prisoners as soon as possible. There are other prisoners in Jordan that ISIS would like to free.
On February 3rd, as promised, Jordan went forward with the execution of al-Rishawi and another prisoner. Reports say another four executions will take place soon.