Dozens of Jordanian fighter jets have bombed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets, the military said, pledging to keep up the attacks until the armed group is defeated.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh (above) told CNN network on Friday that the raids have now expanded into Iraq.
Jordan joined the US-led military alliance against ISIL in September, but up until recently was believed to have only bombed sites in Syria.
“We’ve been attacking targets in both countries, as far as we are concern,” Judeh said, vowing that Jordan will continue the operations to avenge the killing of air force pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh.
The AFP news agency also reported that American F-16 and F-22 jets are providing security to the Jordanian fighter planes, in case of emergency, with additional support from refuelling tankers and surveillance aircraft.
ISIL’s new tactics
As operations continue, public pressure in Jordan to retaliate against ISIL also grew.
On Friday, thousands rallied in capital Amman to honour Kassasbeh and in support of the king and the army. There has been speculation that King Abdullah, a trained pilot, may personally take part in the offensive such is his outrage at the slaughter of Jordanian serviceman Kassasbeh.
“People here say that the only positive thing that has come from the murder of Kassasbeh is that it has united Jordan in its opposition against ISIL,” Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from Amman, said.
“People are speaking with one voice; They are convinced that Jordan should indeed have joined the international coalition against ISIL when it did last September. Those who had doubts whether Jordan should be doing this, now have their questions answered. Even those who weren’t convinced of the role that Jordan is playing, now believe in it.”
On Thursday, Al Jazeera also learned that Jordan hit targets in al-Raqqa, the ISIL stronghold in Syria.
The strikes were “the beginning of our retaliation”, Judeh told CNN, adding that his country was going after ISIL “with everything we have”.
Jordanian State TV showed footage of the strikes, which targeted training centres and weapons storage sites, including one which set off a large ball of fire after impact.
The military said all targets were destroyed.
Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies