Islamic State militants’ magazine Dabiq has published an interview which it claims is with the Jordanian pilot they captured after his plane went down in Syria. The report describes the way the plane was downed and details the operation against the ISIS.
First Lieutenant Mu’ath al-Kasaesbeh F-16 went down near the city of Raqqa on the banks of the Euphrates River last Wednesday. He said he landed in the river after ejecting from the aircraft and was captured by ISIS fighters.
“Our role in the mission was to be sweepers and cover for the striker jets. We sweep the area to destroy any anti-aircraft weaponry on the ground and provide cover in case enemy jets appear,” Dabiq quotes Al-Kasaesbeh’s words.
The man allegedly says his plane was stricken by a heat seeking missile.
— Ezzedine Said (@ezzsaid) December 24, 2014
“I heard and felt its hit. The other Jordanian pilot in the mission contacted me from a participating jet and told me that I was struck and that fire was coming out of the rear nozzle of my engine,” he said.
The two-page interview details airplanes each country in the coalition use – allegedly most of them are F16s – and where they fly from. Bases in Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are mentioned. The pilot also dwells on life at his own base in Jordan.
“The Americans sometimes have dinner with us and eat mansaf [a traditional Arab dish], which they like a lot. Their talk does not include details about operations because of matters of secrecy and security,” he allegedly said adding that missions are assigned by the US bases in Qatar.
— Mureed Hammad (@mureedhammad) December 24, 2014
The “interview” finishes with the question: “Do you know what the Islamic State will do with you?” and the response to that “Yes… They will kill me…”
Kasaesbeh, who comes from a prominent family in Jordan, is the first coalition pilot to have been captured by ISIS.
Jordan has declined to comment on the interview, but said earlier that the fighter jet may have been brought down by a missile though there was no proof.
The US, on their behalf, has denied that the Islamic State shot down the jet. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of the US military’s Central Command, accused the militants of “attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes.”