Jordanian Pilot Captured, Held Hostage, then Executed by ISIS

AnnaBeth Graves, Staff Writer

On Dec 24, 2014, 26-year-old first lieutenant Moath al-Kasasbeh was taken hostage by the terrorist group ISIS when his plane crashed in Syria.  Al-Kasasbeh was flying a mission for Jordan, his home country.  The Jordanian government was in the process of negotiating with the Islamic State for the release of al-Kasasbeh in exchange for would-be suicide bomber, Sajida al-Rishawi.  This negotiation never moved forward as ISIS did not produce evidence that al-Kasasbeh was alive.

On Jan 3, 2015 a 22 minute film was released by ISIS.  The film showed clips of news and current events in other countries regarding ISIS, damage done by the bombings in Syria and Iraq, and al-Kasasbeh describing in detail his mission over Syria that resulted in his capture.  Finally, the film shows al-Kasasbeh doused in gasoline, put in a cage, and then burned alive.  Though the terrorist group has released videos of previous executions, al-Kasasbeh’s death was the most inhumane and the video was put together in a much more elaborate way, suggesting that he was executed far before the film was released.  It was confirmed that al-Kasasbeh was executed nearly a month before.

In response to the horrific film and inhumane execution of al-Kasasbeh the Jordanian government executed Sajida al-Rishawi as well as Ziad al-Karbouli, another hostage.  Jordan’s King Abdullah released a statement condemning the acts and the group. Jordan is not alone in this war.  Several Arab countries have declared their allegiance with Jordan and a few western countries, including the US have as well.  President Obama has not declared against the radical terrorist group, though many feel that this is the next step.

Student Reactions to the Event

Untitled Report

Noelle Posner (‘15): “I’m in a group message for people that are going to Auburn next year and they were all talking about it. I don’t know that much.  I’ve heard debates about if other people in the country think it’s ok.”

Claudia Herrera (‘16) “I just know the basis of it: that the Jordanian pilot was killed by ISIS. My mother told me about it because she got the news update before I did.  I feel like Americas gonna go ahead and intervene because we’re fighting the war on terrorism.”

Sean Tran (‘17)  “I have the CNN app and it gave me a notification that said that a photo was released by ISIS of him burning in a cage-they burned him alive.  That’s basically all I know.”

Jonathon Copley (‘18):  “I heard about it from my parents and I saw it in the paper-there was an article about it on the front page.  All I know is that he was burned alive, maybe a few months ago, but the video was just released recently.”