Amman unites in protest at IS murder of pilot

Amman unites in protest at IS murder of pilot
2 min read
06 February, 2015
Jordan's Queen Rania joins thousands on march through capital in solidarity with Moaz al-Kassasbeh, as the country's leaders vow to deepen Jordan's involvement in the US-led war against Islamic State.

Jordanians mourn slain pilot

Queen Rania has joined thousands at a rally in Jordan's capital to express solidarity with the pilot murdered by the Islamic State group. 

The Queen mixed with the crowd after Friday prayers as it marched from the central al-Husseini mosque to Palm Park, about a kilometre away. 

The queen, wife of King Abdullah II, did not address the rally, where marchers chanted "we are all Moaz," a reference to Moaz al-Kassasbeh, and "we are all Jordan".  

Placards were also held aloft that read: "Yes to punishment. Yes to the eradication of terrorism."

An imam leading prayers at al-Husseini mosque condemned IS, saying: "The image of Islam was being distorted at the hands of a gang that has nothing to do with Islam".

Suleiman al-Zaben, the second speaker of the house of representatives, said the march sent a message to IS that its attempts to divide Jordan had failed.

Speaking to al-Araby al-Jadeed, he argued the armed forces would "not rest until they avenge the death of their pilot by exterminating IS".

An estimated 7,000 people were at the march.

Mourning the martyr or Jordan

Kassasbeh was captured by IS in December after his F-16 crashed in Syria while on a mission for the US-led coalition.

The group earlier this week released a video of his murder.

On Thursday, the royal couple visited Kassasbeh's family  which has urged the government to "destroy" the militants.

Jordan has vowed to further retaliate against IS, after the military said that "dozens of jet fighters" struck IS targets on Thursday, hitting militant training camps as well as weapons and ammunition depots.  

Foreign minister Nasser Judeh told CNN the operation was "the beginning of our retaliation over this horrific and brutal murder of our brave young pilot."  

Judeh declined to reveal Jordan's military plans but said it would hit the militants with all its might. 

"We're upping the ante. We're going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have," he said. 

"We're going to go after them and we will eradicate them... We are at the forefront. This is our fight."

American F-16 and F-22 jets provided security to the Jordanian fighter planes, with additional support from refuelling tankers and surveillance aircraft, US officials said.