The head of the Jordanian air-force claims the intense blitz of strikes over the past few days have destroyed a fifth of the Islamic State’s war-fighting capabilities, in a series of attacks reportedly led by the king of Jordan in retaliation for the brutal murder of a prisoner of war last week.
Although the recent strikes make up just a small proportion of the 2,000 bombing raids made by coalition war-planes since the start of the campaign against the Islamic state last year, if the claims by Jordan are true they have been uniquely effective. The Guardian reports the remarks of Major General Mansour al-Jobour who claims his planes have killed a remarkable 7,000 daesh, or ISIS fighters, so far.
Jordan promised an “earth-shattering” military response to the Islamic State’s decision to execute a downed Jordanian fighter-pilot captured in the desert by burning him to death. Jobour said of the campaign so far “On the first day of the campaign to avenge our airman Maaz al-Kassasbeh, nineteen targets were destroyed, including training camps and equipment”.
Jordan uses the American-built F-16 fighter-bomber, a reliable, plentiful and comparatively economical aircraft capable of dropping accurate laser-guided munitions. Although not as accurate as the latest GPS-guided paveway bombs dropped by British Royal Air Force planes during their campaigns against the Islamic State, the older laser bombs have the distinct advantage of being very nearly as accurate, while only costing a tenth as much to buy.
Future King of Britain Prince Charles enjoyed a warm reception in Jordan over the weekend as he met with half-British, Sandhurst educated Jordanian King Abdullah II. As well as the King, Charles also met with senior military officials and local Christian leaders. The visit has been called a “show of support” for the pro-Western Arab nation, which shares nearly 1,000 kilometres of land-borders with Iraq and Syria, who continue to struggle against the nascent Islamic State.