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King won't take part in anti-ISIL strikes: Jordan

Information disseminated over news and social media outlets about the king's participation in airstrikes against [ISIL] is false

05.02.2015
King won't take part in anti-ISIL strikes: Jordan

Laith al-Jnaidi

AMMAN

 The Jordanian government denied on Thursday that King Abdullah II would personally take part in airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group.

"Information disseminated over news and social media outlets about the king's participation in airstrikes against [ISIL] is false," government spokesman Mohamed al-Momni has said.

The statements come after reports by some local news outlets – which have spread through social media – that King Abdullah, a trained pilot, would personally take part in anti-ISIL airstrikes on Thursday following the execution of abducted Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasba by the militant group in Syria.

On Wednesday, King Abdullah promised a "devastating response" by the Jordanian army against the ISIL following al-Kasasba's execution, which was broadcast the night before in an online video purportedly showing the abducted pilot being burnt alive by his ISIL captors.

The gruesome video sent shockwaves across Jordan, which is a member of an ongoing U.S.-led air campaign against the militant group, as well as a fresh wave of global outrage against the ISIL.

Al-Kasasba was captured by ISIL militants after his fighter plane crashed in the Syrian city of Raqqa last December.

Shortly after the appearance of Tuesday's video, Jordanian authorities executed two Iraqi nationals – Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziyad al-Karbouli – who had been on a death row since 2006 after being convicted of terrorism by a Jordanian court.

Last summer, the ISIL captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, killing thousands of people in the process. It later declared the captured territories to be part of a self-styled "Islamic caliphate."

Since the group captured the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in June of last year, a U.S.-led coalition – which includes Jordan – has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL targets in both Iraq and Syria.

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