United Arab Emirates (UAE) fighter planes roared out of an air base in Jordan on Tuesday in order to pound Islamic State (ISIS) militant positions, an operation marking a return to combat operations by one of the United States’ closest Arab allies in the fight against the extremists. report:
The Emirates’ decision to launch fresh airstrikes from the kingdom after a more-than-monthlong hiatus was a strong show of support for Western-allied Jordan, which has vowed a punishing response to the militants’ killing of one of its pilots. It also is likely to quiet concerns in Washington about the oil-rich Emirates’ commitment to the fight.
The seven-state federation, which includes Abu Dhabi and Dubai, stopped conducting airstrikes late last year after Jordanian Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh was captured when his plane crashed behind enemy lines, according to American officials. Al-Kaseasbeh was later burned alive in a cage by the militants.
American defense officials last week said they moved search-and-rescue aircraft closer to the battlefield, helping ease allies’ concerns about the coalition’s ability to aid downed pilots.
The General Command of the UAE Armed Forces said Emirati F-16s carried out a series of strikes Tuesday morning, according to a brief statement carried by the Gulf nation’s official WAM news agency.