Islamic State has published an interview with a Jordanian pilot captured by militants last week
First Lieutenant Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh ‘sF-16 warplane was damaged during an airstrike,making the 26-year-old the first foreign military pilot to fall into the extremists’ hands since an international coalition began its aerial campaign against IS in September
Lt Kaseasbeh, who is pictured wearing an orange jumpsuit, describes how his jet was hit by anti-aircraft fire near Raqqa, which is located on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
‘We entered the region of ar-Raqqah to sweep the area, then the striker jets entered to begin their attack,’ he was quoted as saying. ‘My plane was struck by a heat-seeking missile. I heard and felt its hit.
‘The other Jordanian pilot in the mission – the first lieutenant pilot Saddām Mardīnī – 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 checked the system display and it indicated that the engine was damaged and burning. The plane began to deviate from its normal flight path, so I ejected.
‘I landed in the Furāt River by parachute and the seat caught on some ground, keeping me fixed, until I was captured by soldiers of the Islamic State.’
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Elsewhere in the interview, Lt Kaseasbeh answers questions about himself and the coalition involved in airstrikes against Islamic State targets.
He said his role in the mission was to destroy anti-aircraft positions and guard against any enemy jets. At the end of the short piece he is asked if knows what his fate will be at the hands of Islamic State.
‘Yes,’ he answers. ‘They will kill me.’