U.S. President Barack Obama offered his “deepest condolences” to Jordan’s King Abdullah II over the death of Jordanian air force pilot Muath Al-Kaseasbeh during an unscheduled meeting at the White House on Tuesday, according to media reports. The meeting was held just hours after the Islamic State group released a video showing the 26-year-old pilot being burned to death.
“The president and King Abdullah reaffirmed that the vile murder of this brave Jordanian will only serve to steel the international community's resolve to destroy ISIL,” Alistair Baskey, White House spokesperson, reportedly said after the meeting.
In a statement, published Tuesday after the video's release, Obama said that the ISIS' move was further evidence of the extremist group's “viciousness and barbarity” and that al-Kasasbeh’s sacrifice should unite the world against the militant group. “As we grieve together, we must stand united, respectful of his sacrifice to defeat this scourge. Today, the coalition fights for everyone who has suffered from ISIL’s inhumanity,” Obama said in the statement.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the killing of the pilot, saying that ISIS has “no agenda other than to kill and destroy.”
“Jordanian First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh represented everything that ISIL is not -- he was brave, compassionate, and principled,” Kerry said, in the statement. “Today and hereafter, particularly in this hour of grief, our support for Jordan and the Jordanian people remains strong and steadfast.”
The brutal killing of the Jordanian pilot has sparked outrage in Jordan, with the country’s government vowing “strong, decisive and swift” response to his death. On Wednesday, Jordan executed two al Qaeda prisoners to avenge the death of its pilot. The prisoners included a would-be female suicide bomber, whose release had been sought by ISIS.
Abdullah II, who was in Washington on a previously scheduled trip, also cut short his visit and called for the nation to “stand together.”
“Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with the family of the martyr hero Moaz, with our people and our armed forces in this tragedy,” he reportedly said. “At these difficult times it is every Jordanian's duty to stand together in the face of crises and ordeals, which will only make us stronger.”