Burned Alive: ISIS Video Purports to Show Murder of Jordanian Pilot Muath al Kasasbeh
Beirut , Lebanon ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – ISIS militants released a video on Tuesday purporting to show a captive Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage, just days after the militants beheaded a Japanese journalist. Jordan’s king cut short his visit to Washington, D.C., following the video’s release.
Lt. Muath al Kasasbeh was on a bombing run over Syria in December when he was forced to eject and was immediately captured by ISIS fighters. His continued captivity — and ISIS threats to murder him — have been a national trauma for Jordan.
A 22-minute video released by the al-Furqan Media Foundation — one of the official media arms of ISIS — shows Kasasbeh with a black eye at a table and later, standing in a cage as he is burned alive. The tape appears consistent with other ISIS videos, according to Flashpoint Intelligence, a global security firm and NBC News consultant.
While the video bears some similarities to previous hostage videos, it also bears some notable differences. Like previous murdered hostages, Kasasbeh is pictured in an orange jumpsuit. But instead of black-clad fighters wielding knives, he is surrounded by militants in sand-colored balaclavas and camouflage.
One militant lights a torch and a trail leading toward a cage holding the jumpsuit clad Kasasbeh. The pilot raises his hands to his head and screams as he is engulfed by flames. A tractor then dumps rocks and sand onto the cage to extinguish the blaze.
Kasasbeh was the first pilot from the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS to be captured — which most likely explains the grisly change in tactics, according to Flashpoint’s Laith Alkhouri.
“For ISIS, this is ‘equal’ to the bombing and burning of purported civilians and children by the aerial bombardment,” he said. “The group is essentially saying, an eye for an eye.”
The White House is aware of the video and the intelligence community is working to verify its authenticity, according to National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan.
“We stand in solidarity with the government of Jordan and the Jordanian people,” she added.
President Barack Obama told reporters at a White House event on the Affordable Care Act that he had “just got word” about the video.
“Should in fact this video be authentic, it’s just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization,” he said in response to a question shouted at the end of the event.
There was no immediate comment from Jordanian officials, who have been working feverishly to negotiate a prisoner swap in exchange for the pilot following the murders of the journalist and another Japanese citizen last month. On Sunday — a day after ISIS beheaded journalist Kenji Goto — Jordan renewed an offer to swap an al-Qaeda prisoner for Kasasbeh.
The fate of the pilot and Goto were first linked when a video from ISIS ordered $200 million in exchange for their safe release. ISIS later demanded the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an al-Qaeda prisoner who faces death by hanging for her role in triple hotel bombings in Jordan in 2005. An audio message last week, purportedly from ISIS, only said the pilot would be killed if al-Rishawi was not released Thursday. Al-Rishawi remains in Jordan.For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org