* Amman vows ‘earth-shaking’ response to his death * Pilot’s father urges more strikes against Islamic State * Executed Iraqi female militant was involved in 2005 bombing
Amman | Jordan hanged two Iraqi jihadists today including a female militant in response to an Islamic State video showing a captured Jordanian pilot being burnt alive by the hardline group. Islamic State had demanded the release of the woman, Sajida al-Rishawi, in exchange for a Japanese hostage whom it later beheaded. Sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack in Amman, Rishawi was executed at dawn, a security source and state television said.
Jordan, which is part of the US-led alliance against Islamic State, has promised an ‘earth-shaking response’ to the killing of its pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, who was captured in December when his F-16 crashed over northeastern Syria.
Jordan also executed a senior al Qaeda prisoner, Ziyad Karboli, an Iraqi man who was sentenced to death in 2008. The fate of Kasaesbeh, a member of a large tribe that forms the backbone of support for the country’s Hashemite monarchy, has gripped Jordan for weeks and some Jordanians have criticised King Abdullah for embroiling them in the US-led war that they say will provoke a militant backlash.
King Abdullah cut short an official visit to the United States yesterday. In a televised statement to the nation, he urged national unity and said the killing was a cowardly act of terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam.
There was widespread shock and anger in Jordan at the brutality of a killing that drew international condemnation. Kasaesbeh’s father said the two executions were not enough and urged the government to do more to avenge his death.
‘I want the state to get revenge for my son’s blood through more executions of those people who follow this criminal group that shares nothing with Islam,’ Safi al-Kasaesbeh told Reuters. ‘Jordanians are demanding that the state and coalition take revenge with even more painful blows to destroy these criminals,’ he said.
The Jordanian army has vowed to avenge his death, and some analysts believe it could escalate its involvement in the campaign against Islamic State, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, Jordan’s neighbours to the north and east.
In the pilot’s home village of Ay, mourners said Jordanians must rally around the state. ‘Today we put our differences behind us and rally behind the king and nation,’ said Jabar Sarayrah, a shopkeeper.
The prisoners were executed in Swaqa prison, 70 km (45 miles) south of Amman, just before dawn, a security source who was familiar with the case said. ‘They were both calm and showed no emotions and just prayed,’ the source added without elaborating.
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