World outraged over IS’ killing of Jordanian pilot

A Palestinian woman holds a poster with a picture of pilot Muath Kasasbeh during a protest in front of the Jordanian embassy in the West Bank City of Ramallah on Wednesday (AP Photo by Majdi Mohammed)

A Palestinian woman holds a poster with a picture of pilot Muath Kasasbeh during a protest in front of the Jordanian embassy in the West Bank City of Ramallah on Wednesday (AP Photo by Majdi Mohammed)

AMMAN — The international community continued on Wednesday to voice its outrage regarding the brutal killing of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh at the hands of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group.

Several world leaders and senior officials expressed their condolences to His Majesty King Abdullah as well as to the family and friends of Kasasbeh and the Jordanian public, underlining their solidarity with the country at this difficult time.

His Majesty King Abdullah received phone calls over the pilot’s death from leaders across the Middle East, including Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Al Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Also Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is also deputy prime minister, telephoned the King to express his condolences and commend the professionalism of the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilots.

Bahrain Crown Prince Sultan Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Spain’s former king, Juan Carlos, also expressed their condolences to King Abdullah, a Royal Court statement said.

In a statement carried by Al Arabiya News channel’s website, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz described IS’ crime as a “violation of religion and humanity”.

On Twitter, Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa addressed Jordan saying: “You have endured the concerns of Arabs and Arab refugees and the consequences of the Arab Spring. We owe you so much.”

Palestine’s Hamas also condemned the “heinous crime” committed against the pilot, and “all forms of aggression against our Arab and Islamic nation”, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmed Al Tayeb said the killers themselves deserve to be “killed, crucified or to have their limbs amputated”, according to Reuters, while Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani condemned the “ugly crime committed by the terrorist group that calls itself ISIS”.

“This criminality utterly disregards the rights of prisoners Islam has decreed, as well as the human moral standards for war and treatment of prisoners,” he said in a statement.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour also received a cable of condolences from former Lebanese prime minister and Chairman of the Lebanese Future Movement Fuad Siniora, Petra reported.

Condolences and condemnations also continued to flow from around the world.

“We send our thoughts and prayers to Lieutenant Kasasbeh’s comrades, loved ones and all Jordanians as we join them in mourning this tragic loss,” US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement.

The chief of the Florida-based US Central Command, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, issued a similar statement condemning Kasasbeh’s murder.

“US Central Command strongly condemns ISIL’s [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] savage murder of Jordanian pilot [Muath] Kasasbeh. This vicious act is yet another example of ISIL or ‘Daesh’s’ brutality and warped ideology,” Austin said.

Similarly, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond condemned the killing, stressing that the crime indicates a lack of morality and will double international resolve to eradicate IS.

Turkey’s foreign ministry also condemned the pilot’s “brutal murder”.

“We emphasise that we are in full solidarity with Jordan and the international community in the fight against terrorism,” a ministry statement said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “adamantly condemn[ed]” the “outrageous” killing of the Jordanian pilot, according to Reuters, while the EU expressed condolences to his family.

“I express my sincere and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Captain Muath Kasasbeh. Our thoughts and sympathies go to them as we stand in solidarity with the Jordanian people, King Abdullah II, and the Jordanian authorities,” EU Ambassador to Jordan Joanna Wronecka said in a statement.

Religious and political leaders across the Arab world also paid tribute to the pilot.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to fighting terrorism and extremism, Petra reported. “This heinous and obscene act represents a brutal escalation by the terrorist group, whose evil objectives have become apparent,” he said.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry also condemned the “criminal act”, while Iran, which has aided both Iraq and Syria against the IS group, said the killing of the pilot was an “inhuman” act that violated the codes of Islam, according to a statement by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham.

Lebanese Information Minister Ramzi Greig said in a statement that the Lebanese people are “standing in solidarity with Jordan”.

In Syria’s Kobani town, Syrian Kurdish fighters commemorated Kasasbeh as a “martyr”, Agence France-Presse reported, quoting an activist.

“Troops from the People’s Protection Units in Kobani and in liberated villages nearby gathered to mourn the pilot’s death, and to hold a minute of silence in his honour,” the activist said.

This piece was published in The Jordan Times

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