ISIS claims to have burned Jordanian pilot alive in video

WATCH ABOVE: ISIS militants have killed captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh, by burning him alive in a cage. Eric Sorensen reports. 

TORONTO – A video published online purportedly shows members of ISIS burning Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh alive.

The video, which could not be immediately verified, purports to show al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage dressed in an orange jumpsuit while masked men look on.

One masked individual is seen igniting a trail of fuel, engulfing the cage.


The pilot had been held captive by ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) since his F-16 crashed near the group’s de facto capital, Raqqa, Syria, in December.

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According to Reuters, the head of the Jordanian armed forces confirmed to al-Kaseasbeh’s family that the 26-year-old had been killed.

The video was released on militant websites and bore the logo of the extremist group’s al-Furqan media service, according to the Associated Press. The 20-minute-long video featured the slick production and graphics used in previous videos released by the group.

Jordanian King Abdullah II was in Washington on a previously scheduled trip and added a stop at the White House with President Barack Obama.

READ MORE: Calls for #ISISMediaBlackout to stop spread of horrific ISIS images

King Abdullah II broadcast a speech on Jordanian TV on Tuesday evening, confirming the pilot’s death “with sorrow and anger,” and urging his countrymen to unite.

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“It’s the duty of all of us to stand united and show the real values of Jordanians in the face of these hardships,” Abdullah said. Jordan’s news agency Petra reported he would be cutting short his Washington trip.


The killing of al-Kaseasbeh comes just days after ISIS purportedly beheaded Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

READ MORE: Horror in Japan as hostage purported beheaded by Islamic State group

Goto travelled to Syria in late October to try to save Haruna Yukawa, 42, who was taken hostage in August. Yukawa was purportedly beheaded on Jan. 24.

The three hostages were a part of failed hostage negotiations between Jordan, Japan and ISIS.

Al-Kaseasbeh was used as leverage in exchange for a Sajida al-Rishawi, an al-Qaeda prisoner, being held in Jordan.

Al-Rishawi faces death in Jordan for her role in a 2005 hotel attack that killed 60 people.


U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the purported video calling it more evidence of the group’s “viciousness and barbarity.”

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“Whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt…this organization appears only interested in death and destruction,” Obama said.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the “barbaric death,” and that “we will not be intimidated by heinous acts of terror.”

Members of the U.N. Security Council condemned the killing of the pilot.

David L. Phillips, a former State Department adviser on the Middle East, said he believes the pilot’s brutal killing could have a reverse effect and turn Sunnis against the extremists, including Sunni tribes in Iraq.

“They need to have a welcome from Sunni Arabs in Anbar Province (in Iraq) to maintain their operations,” said Phillips, director of the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University.

He said the extremist group’s recent military setbacks may have fueled the killings. “They need to compensate for that withincreasingly gruesome killings of prisoners,” he said.

READ MORE: How effective are government efforts to stop ISIS propaganda?

A spokesman for the Jordanian armed forces vowed “punishment and revenge.”

“The military forces announce that the hero pilot, Muath al-Kaseasbeh, has fallen as a martyr, and ask God to accept him with the martyrs,” spokesman Mamdouh al-Ameri said in a statement.

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It’s unclear when the purported video was filmed.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Jordanian state TV said Al-Kaseasbeh was killed Jan. 3, before ISIS offered to release the pilot and Japanese journalist in exchange for the al-Qaeda prisoner.

Jordan said it will execute the al-Qaeda would-be bomber Wednesday, according to AFP.

with files from The Associated Press.