A squadron of F-16 fighter jets from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) arrived in Jordan on Sunday to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL), according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
The UAE’s official WAM news agency reports that the UAE deployed the warplane, along with pilots and technicians, to a Jordanian airbase.
On Saturday, Jordan’s official Petra news agency, citing an announcement carried by WAM, reported that the UAE had ordered a squadron of F-16 fighters to Jordan.
Fox News notes:
The announcement was made by UAE’s official government news agency, following the U.S. State Department’s announcement Friday that the Arab country had reaffirmed its commitment to the coalition and that suggested that “positive news” on the matter would be announced within the next few days.
According to Jordan’s official news agency, the UAE reaffirmed its support for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS and condemned the “abominable” murder of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was burned alive by ISIS while trapped in a cage.
Jordan Royal Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Salem Al-Jbour said on Sunday that Jordan had launched 56 airstrikes against ISIS targets, including weapons depots, training centers, and military barracks, since the jihadist group released the video of them burning the Jordanian pilot, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
“We achieved what we were looking for: revenge for Muath,” the general reportedly said. “And this is not the end. This is the beginning.”
Jordan’s air force chief added that 20 percent of ISIS’ military capabilities have been destroyed in raids carried out by the U.S.-led coalition, the Petra news agency reports. About 7,000 ISIS-affiliated terrorists have been killed since the coalition launched the military campaign against the extremist group, said the commander. Coalition warplanes have flown 5,500 sorties since the beginning of the U.S.-led air campaign, including 2,000 surveillance flights, Al-Jbour added.
“He did not say whether this included flights over both Syria and Iraq,” reports the AP. “He said Jordan’s air force participated in 946 sorties.”
Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have been participating in the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, with logistical support from Qatar.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) notes that U.S. officials have said the UAE suspended its participation in the airstrikes late last year after the Jordanian pilot crashed in Syria and was captured by ISIS.
The UAE did not officially comment on suspending its airstrikes. Some airbases in the UAE are used by the American and coalition nations.
The U.S. and its Arab allies have been launching airstrikes against ISIS in Syria since September 23. Fighter jets from the U.S. and other countries have been striking ISIS targets in Iraq since August 8.
ISIS was targeted after it seized control of large parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a “Caliphate.”