Jordanian General: 'We Are Defending Not Only Our Country But Our Faith'

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

The head of Jordan's Air Force on Sunday said that his country's fighters have done 56 bombing raids on ISIS in the past three days, saying, they are "defending not only our country but our faith."

The country on Syria's southern border late last week stepped up its bombing of ISIS militants in response to the horrific burning alive of a Jordanian pilot on Tuesday.

"Initially we were participating with two to four aircraft. After what they have done to our brave pilot, First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh, and their brutal action in executing him, then we decided to revenge," Major General Mansour Al Jobour told NBC News. "We immediately started the air campaign that we proclaimed “Muath Air Campaign.” We are flying almost more than twenty missions a day."

He added, "We are defending not only our country but our faith and our religion."

No new strikes were announced for Sunday.

"We achieved what we aimed for," told a news conference earlier. We destroyed logistics centers, arms depots and targeted hideouts of their fighters," al-Jabour told a news conference earlier.

Jordan has carried out nearly a fifth of the sorties of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria to date, Jbour said. U.S. aircraft joined the mission to provide intelligence, surveillance, a U.S. official told Reuters earlier on Sunday.

The raids had "degraded" nearly 20 percent of the militants' capabilities, he said.

Jbour said the main aims of the bombing would continue to be to try to hit IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to stop the group's illicit oil trade, and to destroy their training bases, garrisons and command centers.

"We are determined to wipe them from the face of the Earth," the general said.

Jordanian Air Force Commander Major General Mansour al Jabour.NBC News


— with Reuters