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Middle East News
ISIS Captures Jordan Pilot
From the Wall Street Journal of Wed, 24 Dec 2014 11:15:58 EST
A photo posted by a media center sanctioned by Islamic State purports to show a captured Jordanian pilot, center, whose plane went down in Syria on Wednesday.
A photo posted by a media center sanctioned by Islamic State purports to show a captured Jordanian pilot, center, whose plane went down in Syria on Wednesday. Associated Press

BEIRUT—A Jordanian air force pilot was captured by Islamic State militants in Syria after his plane crashed near the city of Raqqa, Jordan’s armed forces said in a statement Wednesday.

The statement said the warplane was participating in an operation against the militant group’s “hide-outs” when it came down Wednesday morning in an area near Raqqa, the northeastern Syrian city and province that is the seat of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate.

“Jordan holds the organization [Islamic State] and those who back it responsible for the pilot’s safety and well-being,” said the statement from the Jordanian military carried by the country’s state-controlled news agency Petra, which also posted a photo of the pilot, along with a statement confirming his identity as Muath al-Kasasbah, a 26-year-old first lieutenant.

Citizen journalists in Raqqa posted on their Facebook accounts details of the apparent capture and photographs of the pilot surrounded by what looked like triumphant Islamic State fighters.

One group, the Raqqa Media Center, said Islamic State’s anti aircraft guns brought down the plane Wednesday morning in the village of Hamrat Ghanam, southeast of Raqqa city, and that the Jordanian pilot had ejected.

One photograph shows the pilot in his underwear carried through water by three armed men.

Another shows about a dozen armed men, most of them masked, surrounding the captured pilot.

A U.S. Defense official said the cause of the crash was unknown. The official said no American personnel were involved in the incident.

Jordan is one of Washington’s key allies in the Middle East. It was among the Arab countries that joined the U.S.-led coalition military campaign against Islamic State in Syria, which began in September.

—Julian Barnes in Washington contributed to this article.

Write to Sam Dagher at sam.dagher@wsj.com



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