The 6th edition of the Islamic State jihadist terror group’s Dabiq magazine features an interview with captured Jordanian pilot First Lieutenant Muadh Safi al-Kasasbeh.
While in Islamic State custody, al-Kasasbeh said in the interview that his F-16 fighter jet was shot down by an ISIS heat-seeking missile near Raqqa, Syria. “We entered the region of [Raqqa] to sweep the area, then the striker jets entered to begin their attack. My plane was struck by a heat-seeking missile. I heard and felt its hit,” said the Jordanian pilot.
He added: “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… I landed in the [Euphrates] River by parachute and the seat caught on some ground, keeping me fixed, until I was captured by soldiers of the Islamic State.”
Al-Kasasabeh then revealed that American bases in Qatar coordinated the coalition fighter jet missions. He also talked about how he often would interact with Americans and share meals with them but that they wouldn’t reveal any operational details about future missions.
The Dabiq interviewer then asked al-Kasasbeh if he knew what the Islamic State was going to do with him. He responded, “Yes… They will kill me…”
The family of the pilot is calling on the Islamic State to free him. He is a “pious man who prays and fasts and he always flies with his Quran with him,” said al-Kasasbeh’s brother to CNN.
A Jordanian spokesman told CNN that the pilot is “a model of heroism and all of us stand with his family and his colleagues in-arms.”
It is still the official position of the United States that ISIS did not shoot down the Jordanian aircraft. General Lloyd Austin of U.S. Central Command said that the United States rejects ISIS’s “attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes.” Jordanian state news said, at the time, the plane crashed, although a government spokesman “initially thought the plane might have been shot at.”
Dabiq magazine, which is always filled with hundreds of Quranic verses and verbiage, also featured a glorifying piece praising Man Haron Monis, the jihadist who last week took dozens of hostages in Sydney, Australia in the name of the Islamic State, before police neutralized him.