Hammond condemns murder of pilot

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Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The murder of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State (IS) extremists will only serve to redouble efforts to “eradicate the evil” of the group, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Philip Hammond added his voice to the chorus of condemnation that has followed the apparent burning alive of Lt Moaz al Kasasbeh.

A video posted online appears to show the pilot standing in a cage before being set on fire.

Mr Hammond said: ” I am appalled and saddened by ISIL’s sadistic murder of Moaz al-Kassasbeh.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to his family and friends and the people of Jordan as they mourn their loss. This latest depravity will only redouble international determination to eradicate the evil that is ISIL.”

The Foreign Secretary has been on a trip in New Zealand, and yesterday spoke out to encourage the country to join coalition efforts to defeat IS.

Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the killing as a “sickening murder”.

The pilot was captured by IS when his plane came down near their Raqqa stronghold in Syria in December while on a mission supporting US-led airstrikes.

Jordanian state TV confirmed the death, suggesting he was actually killed a month ago.

In a statement released by Downing Street, Mr Cameron said: “I condemn this sickening murder by ISIL’s barbaric terrorists.

“I pay tribute to the dedication and bravery of Lieutenant Moaz al Kasasbeh, who as a member of the Jordanian Armed Forces serving in the anti-ISIL Coalition, paid with his life while protecting his country and us all.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight at this tragic time.

“These terrorists’ brutal behaviour will only strengthen our resolve. We stand in solidarity with our Jordanian friends and we will continue to work with them and our other Coalition partners to defeat ISIL.

“Together we are making progress. In the last week, ISIL has been thrown out of Kobane.

“The Iraqi Armed Forces, with Coalition support, are steadily re-taking territory in Northern Iraq, freeing many thousands from ISIL’s utter cruelty. We will not stop until these evil extremists and their poisonous ideology are defeated.”

US president Barack Obama said the video was more evidence of the group’s “viciousness and barbarity”.

He said the killing would “redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of our global coalition to make sure they are degraded and ultimately defeated”.

Jordan’s government had previously said it was prepared to trade its prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi, an al Qaida activist, for the 26-year-old pilot.

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

The latest video emerged three days after Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was beheaded by the militants.

Michael Haines, brother of the murdered British IS hostage David Haines, said: “My heart is filled with sadness yet again to hear of the savage murder of another hostage by the terrorists (IS).

“Firstly, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Moaz al Kasasbeh, I know only too well the feelings of loss, anger and disbelief they must be experiencing right now. I share their pain.

“The murder of Moaz al Kasasbeh once more shows the unmerciful nature of these criminals.

“The world must come and stand together in the rejection of the fear the terrorists are attempting to spread. Only when we are all united against this vile threat will we defeat it.”

King Abdullah of Jordan is cutting short a trip to the US to return and oversee the response to the murder.

The Prince of Wales is due to visit Jordan as part of a tour of the region later this month.

Imam Qari Asim, contributing editor at Imamsonline.com, said: “The murder today by the band of criminals, IS, of Moaz al Kasasbeh shows the world once again the level of barbarism which is at their core.

“While we join all peace loving Muslims across the world in prayer we utterly condemn this act, those who undertook it, those who support it and those who promote IS’s misinterpretation of Islam.

“Every Muslim across the world should stand together for peace and against IS. No human should treat another fellow human being in such a way. IS’s extreme violence has no place in our religion of peace.”

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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