Following the horrific news that a captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was burned alive by Islamic State militants, Jordan officials executed two terrorist prisoners. Upon return from the executions, King Abdullah II was warmly welcomed by crowds who praised him for not bowing down to ISIS.
Throughout the Arab world people were outraged by the senseless killing of the pilot, as well as two Japanese men and others who had been murdered by ISIS. One leading Sunni imam said the Islamic State extremists needed to suffer the same harsh punishments as what was inflicted on innocent people.
Petra, a state news agency in Jordan confirmed that two prisoners from Iraq on death row to include a former top Al-Qaeda lieutenant and failed suicide bomber, Sajida al-Rishawi were executed at dawn, less than 12 hours after ISIS murdered al-Kasasbeh.
While there are currently over 100 additional prisoners sitting on death row in Jordan, officials said that just three were actually convicted of crimes of terrorism. Col. Mamdouh al-Ameri, spokesperson for the military in Jordan promised that revenge will be the same as what ISIS has inflicted on his country.
Of the two executions, the one most notable was Ms. Rishawi who in 2005 along with her husband went to a wedding reception to serve as suicide bombers. While her husband’s bomb exploded, killing him and 57 people, as well as injuring more than 100, hers did not detonate. After being captured, not only did Rishawi admit to her crime but said she went on the mission to avenge her first husband and three of her brothers who were killed in Iraq by American troops.
Prior to al-Kasasbeh horrific execution, Jordanian officials worked hard to exchange Rishawi for the pilot’s freedom but to no avail. King Abdullah II met with President Obama in Washington but had to cut his trip short. During that meeting, Obama said that Jordan, along with six Arab nations had full support of the United States.
In order for people on Jordan’s death row to be executed, a signature from the King is mandated. Although death typically comes by hanging, there has been no official word as to how the executions of the two terrorists were actually carried out. While the executions were going on, the King was flying back to his country from the US meeting.
Exiting the plane, King Abdullah II was met by thousands of supporters celebrating his move to execute the two Jordanian prisoners. Along with people waving flags and blaring horns, some carried large photos of Moaz al-Kasasbeh and the King. However, one of the more powerful statements was seen in a slogan that read, “We are all Moaz”.
Support for the way Jordan handled the situation was offered by Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. After two of that country’s men were beheaded recently, Abe stated that he is outraged, sorrowful for the men’s family members, and vowed to stand with Jordan.