Thursday 19 April 2018

Jordan launches 56 bombing raids in revenge against Isil

Men stand on the rubble of damaged buildings, at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo (REUTERS/Hosam Katan)
Men stand on the rubble of damaged buildings, at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo (REUTERS/Hosam Katan)
Female protesters, with pictures of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, chant slogans during a rally in Amman. Jordan launched bombing raids against the Islamic State's positions in Syria and Iraq on Thursday in response to its brutal killing of a captured Jordanian pilot, military action that it has continued (REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)
Explosions go off as the military carried out airstrikes at an undisclosed location in Syria. The military carried out airstrikes on Islamic State weapons depots and training sites as King Abdullah II has thrust Jordan to the center of the war against the Islamic State group with his pledge of relentless retaliation for the killing of one of his pilots (AP Photo/Jordanian military via Jordan TV)
Explosions go off as the Jordan military carried out airstrikes at an undisclosed location in Syria (AP Photo/Jordanian military via Jordan TV)
At least 1,000 British Muslim demonstrators hold placards during a protest against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, near Downing Street in central London against what they called "insulting depictions" of the Prophet Mohammad by French newspaper Charlie Hebdo (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

Alan Martin

Jordan sanctioned 56 bombing raids in three days against Isil militants in northeast Syria, according to the country's air force chief.

Jordan stepped up its bombing of the jihadist group on Thursday in response to the brutal killing by Isil of a captured Jordanian pilot, and continued until Saturday.

"We achieved what we aimed for. We destroyed logistics centres, arms depots and targeted hideouts of their fighters," said General Mansour al-Jbour, head of the Jordanian airforce.

Jordan has carried out nearly one-fifth of the sorties of the US-led coalition against Isil in Syria to date, Jbour said.

US aircraft joined the mission to provide intelligence, surveillance.

The raids had "degraded" nearly 20pc of the militants' capabilities, said a US spokesman.

Jbour said the main aims of the bombing would continue to be to try to hit Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to stop the group's illicit oil trade, and to destroy their training bases, garrisons and command centres.

"We are determined to wipe them from the face of the Earth," the general said.

At least 7,000 militants had been killed in the last few weeks of coalition bombing, he said.

Jordan's King Abdullah has vowed to avenge the killing of pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh and has ordered his commanders to prepare for a bigger military role in the international coalition fighting Isil.

Many Jordanians fear greater involvement could trigger a backlash by hardline militants inside the kingdom.

Jordanian military experts say the kingdom could soon struggle to sustain the intensity of the recent air strikes due to its ageing fleet of aircraft.

Meanwhile in Britain thousands of Muslims gathered near Downing Street in London to protest against cartoons showing the prophet Mohamed.

A delegation took a petition signed by more than 100,000 British Muslims to No 10. It calls for "global civility".

A leaflet issued by the Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which organised the rally, said recent republishing of cartoons, caricatures and depictions of Mohamed by French satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' and other publishers is a "stark reminder" that freedom of speech is "regularly utilised to insult personalities that others consider sacred".

Irish Independent

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