Supporters of the Islamic State insurgent group circulated photos and a video on social media on Tuesday purporting to show captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh being burnt alive.
The Jordanian government confirmed that Islamic State militants had killed the pilot on Jan. 3, state television reported. A report by Sky News Arabic reports prisoners that Jordan planned to swap with ISIS are to be executed tonight.
Last week, Jordan issued an ultimatum to the Islamic State that it would execute its ISIS prisoners if the terrorist group killed the Jordanian pilot it had captured.
The ISIS video and images showed a burning man standing in a cage. Kasaesbeh was apparently placed in the cage on open ground, draped in the now traditional orange robes, doused in flammable liquid, and set alight. The 20-minute-long video featured the slick production and graphics used in previous videos released by the group.
The head of the Jordanian armed forces told his family he had been killed, a member of the family told Reuters.
Kasaesbeh has been in Islamic State captivity since his plane crashed over Syria in December.
The pilot, Mu'ath Safi Yousef Al-Kaseasbeh, 26, a first lieutenant in Jordan's air force, was captured on Christmas Eve after his F-16 jet crash-landed near the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is held by ISIS (also known as ISIL).
Al-Kaseasbeh was carrying out air strikes against the militants when his warplane crashed near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital. The group has executed captured Iraqi and Syrian Muslim soldiers in the past — it follows an extremist version of Islam that considers rivals, even some Sunni Muslims, as apostates. Still, the group may want to negotiate a prisoner swap or other concessions from Jordan.
After Al-Kaseasbeh's capture, ISIS militants in Syria initiated a Twitter discussion on the best way to kill the "Jordanian pilot pig." The Arabic hashtag “Suggest a Way to Kill the Jordanian Pilot Pig” was retweeted over a thousand times. Some of the ideas shared by ISIS followers included beheading the pilot, burning him alive and running him over with a bulldozer.
The White House said the U.S. intelligence community was working to authenticate the video and condemned the militant group.
"The United States strongly condemns ISIL's actions and we call for the immediate release of all those held captive by ISIL," White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement, using another acronym for Islamic State.
"We stand in solidarity with the Government of Jordan and the Jordanian people," she said
In retaliation, Jordan said it would execute Wednesday an Iraqi woman on death row over a failed bombing to avenge the murder of the Jordanian pilot by Islamic State jihadists.
"The sentence of death pending on... Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi will be carried out at dawn," the security official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Rishawi, the would-be suicide bomber, was condemned to death for her participation in deadly attacks in Amman in 2005, and IS had offered to spare the life of the Jordanian fighter pilot, Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh, if she were released.
"Jordan's response will be earth-shattering," Information Minister Mohammed Momani said earlier on television, while the army and government vowed to avenge the pilot's murder.
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