Jordan executes 2 al-Qaida prisoners after ISIS kills pilot

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Jordan executes 2 al-Qaida prisoners after ISIS kills pilot
ISIS says American hostage Kayla Mueller died when Jordanian fighter jets bombed the militants' stronghold in Raqqa. The group hasn't given proof.
American aid worker and ISIS hostage Kayla Jean Mueller reportedly killed in coalition air strike. http://t.co/RO5B4YXa2M
This is Kayla Jean Mueller, the American female being held hostage by ISIS http://t.co/MOXLjNx8aa
Jordanian students shout slogans on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman during a rally against the Islamic state (IS) group and in reaction to the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh by the group's militants. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. The placards show Jordan's King Abdullah II and Maaz al-Kassasbeh. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
(al-Furqan Media)
Jawdat al-Kassasbeh, the brother of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was burned alive by Islamic state (IS) group's militants, flashes the sign of victory during a rally against IS group and in reaction to the pilot's murder on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jordanian students shout slogans waving national flags on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman during a rally against the Islamic state (IS) group and in reaction to the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh (on the placards) by the group's militants. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 4: Jordanians welcome King Abdullah as he arrives at Aliya Airport 30 kilometers from the capital Amman, Jordan on February 4, 2015. He has cut his visit to America short following the burning to death of Jordanian pilot Muaz el-Kesasibe by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Jordanians met King Abdullah with posters of the King and Jordanian flags on his arrival at Aliya Airport 30 kilometers from the capital Amman. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Jordanian shouts slogans on February 5, 2015 in the capital Amman during a rally against the Islamic state (IS) group and in reaction to the burning alive of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh by the group's militants. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. The placards show Jordan's King Abdullah II and Maaz al-Kassasbeh. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Jordanian student sits in front of a giant poster showing Jordan's King Abdullah II as he holds a placard bearing a portrait of late Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh on February 5, 2015 during a rally in the capital Amman against the Islamic state (IS) group after its militants burned alive the pilot. Jordan said its warplanes had launched new strikes against the IS group, after vowing a harsh response to the fighter pilot murder. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
Jordanian Muslim worshippers perform a prayer on February 4, 2015 in the capital Amman, for Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was burnt alive by Islamic State (IS) group militants after they captured him when his jet crashed in northern Syria in December. The burning alive of the Jordanian pilot by the IS group has shocked the kingdom, where people are expected to rally behind a military campaign against the jihadists, experts say. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
(al-Furqan Media)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the Lower House's budget committee session at the National Diet in Tokyo on February 4, 2015. Abe condemned the apparent execution by the Islamic State group of a Jordanian pilot as 'unforgivable', days after the murders of two Japanese hostages. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
(al-Furqan Media)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03: A group of people stage protest after a release of a video, allegedly shows execution of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh who has been held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, in Amman, Jordan on February 03, 2015. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03: A group of people stage protest after a release of a video, allegedly shows execution of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh who has been held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, in Amman, Jordan on February 03, 2015. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03:Angry Jordanians gather after after hearing the news of the execution of Jordanian pilot Muath Al Kasasbeh, at the Kasasbeh tribe society on February 3, 2015 in Amman, Jordan. Today a video was released depicting captured Jordanian pilot First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasabeh being burned alive in a cage by the Islamic State (ISIS) group. (Photo by Jordan Pix/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - FEBRUARY 03: A group of people stage protest after a release of a video, allegedly shows execution of the Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh who has been held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, in Amman, Jordan on February 03, 2015. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anwar Tarawneh (C), the wife of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was captured by Islamic State (IS) group militants on December 24 after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria, sheds a tear during a rally calling for the release of her captive husband in the Jordanian capital Amman on February 3, 2015. Jordan vowed to do all it could to save the pilot held by IS after the jihadists killed a Japanese journalist they had been holding. IS has been demanding the release of an Iraqi jihadist on death row in Jordan in exchange for Kassasbeh's life, and Amman said it would hand her over if given proof that he is still alive. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
A screen grab from a video posted to YouTube by ISIS that claims to show journalist James Foley, who was abducted in 2012 while covering the Syria civil war, being beheaded.
Screen shot from an Internet video released Friday that purports to show an ISIS militant beheading British aid worker Alan Henning, who had been taken hostage by the extremist group.
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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan executed two al-Qaida prisoners before dawn Wednesday, just hours after an online video purported to show Islamic State group militants burning a captured Jordanian pilot to death in a cage.

The gruesome death of 26-year-old Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, captured while participating in airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition targeting the militants, sparked outrage and anti-Islamic State group demonstrations in Jordan. Newspaper headlines warned Jordan "will take revenge" for his slaying as King Abdullah II, a staunch Western ally, rushed back to his kingdom from Washington.

In its first response, Jordan executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis linked to al-Qaida, government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said. Another official said they were executed by hanging.

The executions took place at Swaqa prison about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the Jordan's capital, Amman. At sunrise, two ambulances carrying the bodies of al-Rishawi and al-Karbouly drove away from the prison with security escorts. Authorities said they'd be buried later in Jordan.

Al-Rishawi had been sentenced to death after her 2005 role in a triple hotel bombing that killed 60 people in Amman orchestrated by al-Qaida in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State group. Al-Karbouly was sent to death row in 2008 for plotting terror attacks on Jordanians in Iraq.

The militants purportedly had demanded Jordan release al-Rishawi in exchange for the pilot. Over the past week, Jordan had offered to trade her, but froze any swap after failing to receive any proof that the pilot was still alive. Jordanian state television said the pilot was killed as long ago as Jan. 3, suggesting officials there knew any attempt to trade would be in vain.

Al-Kaseasbeh had fallen into the hands of the militants when his F-16 crashed near Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the group. He was the first airman participating in the U.S.-led bombing raids against militant positions in Syria and Iraq to be captured.

In the 20-minute video purportedly showing his killing, he displayed signs of having been beaten, including a black eye. Toward the end of the clip, he is shown wearing an orange jumpsuit. He stands in an outdoor cage as a masked militant ignites a line of fuel leading to it.

The video, which threatened other purported Jordanian pilots by name, was released on militant websites and bore the logo of the extremist group's al-Furqan media service. The clip featured the slick production and graphics used in previous Islamic State group videos. The video could not immediately be confirmed independently by The Associated Press.

Jordan's military quickly confirmed al-Kaseasbeh had been killed.

"Our punishment and revenge will be as huge as the loss of the Jordanians," army spokesman Mamdouh al-Ameri said.

Jordan faces increasing threats from the militants. Jordan borders areas of Islamic State group's self-declared caliphate. There also have been signs of greater support for the group's militant ideas among Jordan's young and poor.

The pilot's father, Safi Yousef al-Kaseasbeh, was attending a tribal meeting in Amman when news of the video surfaced, and he was seen being led from the session. Other men were seen outside, overcome with emotion.

After word spread that the pilot had been killed, dozens of people chanting slogans against the Islamic State group marched toward the royal palace to express their anger. Waving a Jordanian flag, they chanted, "Damn you, Daesh!" - using the Arabic acronym of the group - and "We will avenge, we will avenge our son's blood."

Protesters marched in the pilot's home village of Ai and set a local government office on fire. Witnesses said the atmosphere was tense and that riot police patrolled the streets.

Al-Kaseasbeh is from a tribal area in southern Jordan's Karak district. The tribes are considered a mainstay of support for the monarchy, but the pilot's capture has strained that relationship. Members of the pilot's family have repeatedly accused the government of botching efforts to win his release and have also criticized Jordan's participation in the anti-Islamic State group alliance.

The Islamic State group has released a series of gruesome videos showing the beheading of captives, including two American journalists, an American aid worker and two British aid workers. Tuesday's was the first to show a captive being burned alive.

The latest video was released three days after another video showed the purported beheading of a Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto, who was captured by the Islamic State group in October.

The militants had linked the fates of the pilot and the journalist. A second Japanese hostage was apparently killed earlier last month.

David L. Phillips, a former State Department adviser on the Middle East, said he believes the pilot's killing could backfire, antagonizing Sunnis against the extremists, including Sunni tribes in Iraq. He also said the extremist group's recent military setbacks may have fueled the killings.

"They need to compensate for that with increasingly gruesome killings of prisoners," said Phillips, director of the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University.

Wednesday morning, Jordanians were shocked over the brutality of the Islamic State group.

"There is no religion accepts such act," Amman resident Hassan Abu Ali said. "Islam is a religion of tolerance. (The Islamic State group) have nothing to do with Islam. This is criminal act."

In Washington, King Abdullah II and President Barack Obama vowed in a hastily arranged White House meeting Tuesday not to let up in the fight against the Islamic State group. Abdullah has portrayed the campaign against the extremists as a battle over values. In a speech later aired on Jordanian state television, he urged his countrymen to unite.

"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.

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., a California Republican, said after a meeting with congressional lawmakers and King Abdullah that the Jordanian monarch had been visibly angry and promised swift and certain retaliation against Islamic State group militants.

"They're starting more sorties tomorrow than they've ever had. They're starting tomorrow," Hunter told the Washington Examiner in an interview published online Tuesday night.

Hunter added the king also said: "The only problem we're going to have is running out of fuel and bullets."

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Japanese ISIS Hostages
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Jordan executes 2 al-Qaida prisoners after ISIS kills pilot
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People walk past a big screen reporting that a Japanese hostage was killed by the Islamic State in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Japan said it was 'outraged' after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
The mother of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto is grieving her son's apparent beheading by Islamic State.
Junko Ishido (R) mother of Kenji Goto, speaks to reporters while her husband Yukio Ishido (L) stands beside her at their home in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Japan said it was 'outraged' after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido (C) mother of Kenji Goto, speaks to reporters while her husband Yukio Ishido (L) stands beside her at their home in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Japan said it was 'outraged' after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - JANUARY 17: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and his wife Akie arrive at the Alia International Airport for an official visit in Amman, Jordan on January 17, 2015. (Photo by Shadi Nsoor/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese men being held by Islamist militants, gestures as she answers questions during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on January 23, 2015. Ishido pleaded for her son's release and urged Tokyo to pay a 200 million USD ransom hours before a deadline expires. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese men being held by Islamist militants, answers questions during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on January 23, 2015. Ishido pleaded for her son's release and urged Tokyo to pay a 200 million USD ransom hours before a deadline expires. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese men being held by Islamist militants, is surrounded by photographers at the beginning of a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on January 23, 2015. Ishido pleaded for her son's release and urged Tokyo to pay a 200 million USD ransom hours before a deadline expires. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, the mother of one of two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State, pleads for help in Tokyo. She speaks at a news conference to appeal for journalist Kenji Goto's release. (Video: AP)
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has demanded that ISIS release the two Japanese citizens they are holding hostage and has pledged to put people's lives as a top priority.
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#ISIS threatens to execute two #Japanese hostages unless ransom of $200 million is paid within 72 hours. http://t.co/Z8egkDNYNG
ALEPPO, SYRIA - JANUARY 20: In this file photo, dated as April 25, 2014, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto Jogo, captured by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and one of two Japanese hostages, is seen in Aleppo, Syria. (Photo by Ahmed Muhammed Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Isis demand $200m to spare two Japanese hostages in chilling new video http://t.co/CxKrYhijQH http://t.co/C132cl6vlh
Something about #ISIS video of 2 Japanese hostages. Note the shadows in different angles & differing colour contrast http://t.co/FmSDVH31zI
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Full statement by #ISIS in latest video. Asking for 200 million dollars in 72 hours or 2 Japanese hostages killed. http://t.co/f6uf4LXz0O
The two Japanese #ISIS hostages are believed to be freelance journalist Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R). http://t.co/Bmqssfnt8W
Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa was captured by #ISIS in summer last year via @ArtWendeley http://t.co/sa9Iq15JSH
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#Japan’s government vows not to back down after #ISIS threatens to kill Japanese hostages - http://t.co/WtKhvzDIPc http://t.co/SaEUbbKlpz
ISIS militants' death threat stirs anger, shock in #Japan http://t.co/7pb2nQBRsn http://t.co/6WCsPHKEwy
People stage a silent rally for Japanese hostage Kenji Goto called 'Kenji, You will be alive in our memories' near the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Some 200 people gathered the rally. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 1 denounced as 'heinous and despicable' the apparent beheading of a second Japanese hostage by the Islamic State group, as global leaders spoke out to condemn the militants. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
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