Jordan airstrikes on ISIS targets have killed more than 55 people. This military action is in retaliation for the burning death of Jordan air pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Air strikers flew over the hometown of the martyred pilot in a show of support for the slain fighter’s family. The military air campaign has continued over the past three days.
King Abdullah II promised an “earthshattering” response to the death of the pilot. After a picture of the king dressed in military garb appeared on his Facebook page, people thought that he would personally participate in the airstrikes. As a former major-general in the country’s army, he is well-qualified. Despite over 30,000 “likes” and more than 3,000 shares, the Jordanian government announced that he would not be participating in the airstrikes. His wife, Queen Rania comforted Moaz’s family, including his grieving wife.
ISIS claims the airstrikes inadvertently killed an American citizen after Jordan airstrikes kill 55. According to reports, Kayla Mueller succumbed to injuries when the building she was in was razed in the bombings. Other sources report that the aid worker had been previously sentenced to death unless U.S. officials release Pakistani terror suspect Aafia Siddiqui. Siddiqui is imprisoned in America, sentenced to 86 years after attempting to shoot people who were going to interrogate her over Al-Qaeda ties.
The 26-year-old American was captured and held hostage. She was in the country helping Syrian refugees, without the benefit of an aid organization such as The Red Cross. She and a male friend or colleague drove into the northern Syrian city of Aleppo in 2013. The male companion was there to help fix an internet connection for Doctors Without Borders. The repairs took longer than expected and the humanitarian aid organization arranged for a bus to ferry them out of town the next day. They were captured along a roadside en route to the bus and imprisoned. Her male companion was released several months afterwards, but has not spoken about the ordeal. ISIS announced that they would kill her unless the government traded her for Pakistani Siddiqui or pay a ransom. Initially, government officials denied that she was one of the 55 killed in the Jordanian airstrikes because she would have no reason to be in a weapons warehouse. This was one of the many Jordan airstrike locations. Kayla had a love for the Syrian people, even helping to organize a Syrian sit-in on YouTube.
As one of 23 other hostages taken by ISIS, her time in captivity proved tenuous. ISIS promised her family that they would treat her as a guest. Ultimately some hostages, such as American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff were beheaded. Others such as photojournalists Edouard Elias and Daniel Rye Ottosen were released for ransom. Ottosen succeeded in smuggling out letters from hostage members to their families. It is unknown if Kayla’s family received a letter.
Jordan airstrikes have killed 55 and even more with or without the help of allies in Operation Inherent Resolve. President Obama had denied the Kingdom of Jordan’s request for drones to carry out attacks on ISIS targets. The House Armed Service Committee reported that requests for American Predator drones, prime for dropping hellfire missiles on targeted spots in ISIS territory, were initially denied. Jordan’s position near both Iraq and Syria make it the perfect spot logistically for carrying out such attacks. The denial originally came so that Israel, and not Jordan, might maintain military superiority in the area. Republican Representative Duncan Hunter requests that the denial be reversed immediately so that Jordan can get the weaponry they need to carry out Jordan airstrikes.
By Danielle Branch
Photo by Senior Airman Taylor Curry- Flickr
Photo by Jose Javier Martin Esparto – Flickr