Jordan vows to step up assault against ISIL

Death of pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh unites public opinion for supporting King Abdullah’s promise to hit back against ISIL.

Jordan has pledged to step up its role in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after the armed group killed a captured Jordanian pilot.

King Abdullah II vowed on Wednesday that his country will take more retaliatory action, after hanging two convicted Iraqis on death row – female would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and al-Qaeda operative Ziad al-Karbouli.

The execution by burning of airman Moaz al-Kassasbeh prompted international condemnation and widespread anger in Jordan.

Abdullah cut short a visit to the US and flew back to Amman, where he was greeted by large crowds at the airport before meeting with his security chiefs.

“The blood of martyr Moaz 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,” he said afterwards, quoted by the royal court.

Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Amman, said that the killing of the pilot has united public opinion in Jordan against ISIL.

Our correspondent said that Jordanians are “very adamant” that the country “intensify its role” against ISIL.

“They want to retaliate, to respond and punish ISIL,” she said, adding that Jordan could send special ground troops against ISIL.

‘Harsh and swift revenge’ 

The pilot’s father has also called for harsh and swift revenge for his son’s murder.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Safi al-Kassasbeh said that the execution of two al-Qaeda-linked prisoners Rishawi and Karbouli was not sufficient.

Inside Story: ISIL’s new tactics

The video of Kassasbeh’s execution – the most brutal yet in a series of gruesome recorded killings of hostages by ISIL – prompted global condemnation and vows of continued international efforts to combat the armed Sunni group.

Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious centre of learning, has called for the killing and crucifixion of ISIL fighters, expressing outrage over their murder of the pilot.

Jordan, a crucial ally of Washington in the Middle East, is one of five Arab countries that has joined a US-led coalition of countries carrying out air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

Meanwhile, the European Union combined a statement of solidarity with Jordan over the killing, with criticism of its immediate execution of Rishawi and Karbouli.

“While all efforts must be made to counter terrorism and hold the perpetrators accountable, our reaction to the threat posed by [ISIL] needs to be consistent with our common values on justice and the rights of prisoners,” foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement on Wednesday.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies