Jordan vowed an “earth-shaking” retaliation to the execution of pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh, after the Islamic State (ISIS) group released a horrific video of him being burned alive.
“Jordan’s response will be earth-shattering,” Information Minister Mohammad Momani said in a televised statement Tuesday evening.
At dawn Wednesday, Jordan announced that it had executed Sajida al-Rishawi, a would be Iraqi suicide bomber who failed to blow herself up at the Radisson Hotel 10 years ago in Amman, as well as Zeyad Korbali, another Iraqi arrested for killing a Jordanian.
ISIS had previously demanded that Amman release Rishawi in a prisoner swap for Kassasbeh and Kenji Goto, however Jordan said it would not free its Iraqi prisoner until it received proof-of-life for its captured pilot.
After ISIS aired its execution video, the Jordanian Armed Forces announced that Kassasbeh had been executed on January 3, weeks before ISIS’ aborted prisoner swap operation.
Meanwhile, Jordanian King Abdullah II cut short his visit to Washington Tuesday evening to return his kingdom as it prepared for its response.
In a taped statement aired shortly after the royal court announced he was returning, the Jordanian King exhorted his country’s people to unite against ISIS.
“It is the duty of all Jordanians to stand side by side, show the metal of the Jordanian people in facing the challenges that will only make us stronger and more united.”
Hours after news of Kassasbeh’s execution spread, angry Jordanians gathered for a demonstration in downtown Amman, “demanding swift vengeance,” Jordan’s Petra News Agency reported.
“The angry protesters called on the government to step up the fight against extremist and terrorist groups and demanded the execution of convicted terrorists and their supporters,” the state-run agency asserted.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that demonstrators demanded revenge in Kassasbeh’s hometown of Karak.
Other than Jordan’s Wednesday morning executions, authorities did not give specific details on how Amman would respond to the execution of its pilot.
In a defiant statement, the military said, “spilled blood will be avenged and the punishment that will be inflicted on the tyrants of Earth who assassinated Moaz will be proportionate to the magnitude of the tragedy of all Jordanians.”