Militants from the ISIS extremist groups have taken a Jordanian fighter pilot captive after his plane crashed in northern Syria on Wednesday, marking the first time the jihadi group has captured someone from the U.S.-led coalition.
Following reports that the plane was shot down by ISIS, Jordan's armed forces said in a statement to Petra, the country's state news service, that one of its pilots had been captured after a coalition air raid over Raqqa and that ISIS was responsible for the pilot's safety, but stopped short of saying that the pilot had been downed by the group. "Jordan holds the group and its supporters responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life," said the statement on state television.
The statement also noted that the plane had crashed during a mission "against the hideouts of the terrorist group ... that does not conceal its terrorist plots, committing many criminal acts from wanton destruction to killing innocent Muslims and non-Muslims in Syria and Iraq."
The U.K.-based monitoring group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that ISIS shot the plane down with antiaircraft missiles that they obtained from military bases they captured in Iraq and Syria. "We have confirmed reports that IS members took a [non-Syrian] Arab pilot prisoner after shooting his plane down with an anti-aircraft missile near Raqqa city," said the group, which has been documenting daily events since the civil war in Syria began.
ISIS began circulating pictures on social media that appeared to show the pilot being held by the organization's fighters, as well as pictures of what they said was his Jordanian military ID card.
The capture of the Jordanian pilot could have broader effects on the participation of Arab countries in the U.S.-led coalition. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have played a supporting role in campaigns against ISIS, but the extent of their participation is largely unknown out of the countries' concerns over domestic opposition to their involvement and fear of retaliation by the extremist group.
Also on Wednesday, near Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed dozens of Iraqi soldiers and pro-government militiamen fighting ISIS as they waited in line for their monthly paychecks. While nobody had claimed responsibility for the attack, Iraqi officials said it was a signature ISIS attack.
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