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Jordan launches fresh airstrikes on Islamic State

After vowing harsh retaliation for murder of pilot, king says country will hit terrorist strongholds

Jordanians chant slogans to show their support for the government against terror as they were waiting for Jordan's King Abdullah II, returning from the US, at Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)
Jordanians chant slogans to show their support for the government against terror as they were waiting for Jordan's King Abdullah II, returning from the US, at Queen Alia Airport in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordanian fighter jets carried out new air strikes Thursday, a day after the country’s king vowed to wage a “harsh” war against Islamic State terrorists who control parts of neighboring Syria and Iraq.

A statement from the army did not say which country was targeted. Jordan is part of a US-led military coalition that has bombed IS targets in both countries since last fall, but until now Jordanian warplanes are only known to have carried out raids in Syria.

King Abdullah II pledged to step up the fight against the IS group after the militants burned a captive Jordanian pilot in a cage and released a video of the killing earlier this week. The images have sent waves of revulsion across the region.

On Thursday, warplanes roared overhead as the king paid a condolence visit to the family of the pilot, Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, in his village in southern Jordan. The king pointed at the planes as he sat next to the pilot’s father.

This still image made from video released by Islamic State group militants and posted on the website of the SITE Intelligence Group on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, purportedly shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage just before being burned to death by his captors. The death of the 26-year-old pilot, who fell into the hands of the militants in December when his Jordanian F-16 crashed near Raqqa, Syria, followed a weeklong drama over a possible prisoner exchange. (photo credit: AP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group)
This still image made from video released by Islamic State group militants and posted on the website of the SITE Intelligence Group on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, purportedly shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage just before being burned to death by his captors. (photo credit: AP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group)

Abdullah has said Jordan’s response “will be harsh because this terrorist organization is not only fighting us, but also fighting Islam and its pure values.”

In a statement Wednesday, he pledged to hit the militants “hard in the very center of their strongholds.”

In Washington, leading members of Congress have called for increased US military assistance to the kingdom. Currently, the United States is providing Jordan with $1 billion annually in economic and military assistance.

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