Jordan carries out air strikes in Iraq, killing 55 IS militants

The Jordanian air force carried out air strikes against Islamic State targets in Mosul, killing 55 including a top IS commander known as the “Prince of Nineveh,” Iraqi media reported Wednesday.

The strikes came just hours after Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed a “severe” response to IS after it burned alive a Jordanian fighter pilot captured in Syria.

“The blood of martyr Maaz al-Kassasbeh will not be in vain and the response of Jordan and its army after what happened to our dear son will be severe,” the king said in a statement released by the royal court.

Abdullah held talks with senior military and security officials Wednesday after cutting short a trip to Washington following IS’s release of a video showing Kassasbeh’s killing.

Information Minister Mohammad al-Momani told AFP Amman was “more determined than ever to fight the terrorist group Daesh,” using an Arabic acronym for IS, after the brutal murder of its airman.

According to Reuters, a government spokesman said that Jordan will step up its role in the US-led coalition against IS militants, with all military options on the table.

US President Barack Obama, who hosted Abdullah in a hastily organized and brief Oval Office meeting Tuesday night, led widespread international condemnation of the latest graphic murder, decrying the “cowardice and depravity” of IS.

During the meeting Obama offered “his deepest condolences” to the king. White House spokesman, Alistair Baskey, said that “The president and King Abdullah reaffirmed that the vile murder of this brave Jordanian will only serve to steel the international community’s resolve to destroy IS.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to Abdullah as well, saying that radical Islam’s “cruelty knows no borders, the greatest threat to humanity would be if these extremists get their hands on nuclear weapons,” referring to Iran’s nuclear program.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also sent his condolences to Jordan for the pilot’s “barbaric” murder.

Lieberman also applauded King Abdullah for “for his powerful actions against the heinous terror,” and called on world leaders to follow Jordan’s example with fighting terror “because it is impossible to beat terror with words and declarations.”

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