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UAE To Resume Anti-ISIS Airstrikes 'In Solidarity With Jordan'

A UAE Air Force F-16.
An Jiang
A UAE Air Force F-16.

The United Arab Emirates, which briefly suspended its participation in Arab airstrikes against the self-declared Islamic State after a Jordanian pilot shot down over Syria was executed by extremists, says it will rejoin the effort.

The UAE has sent a squadron of F-16 jets to Jordan so that its pilots can fly sorties alongside those from Jordan, whose captured pilot, Lt. Muath Kaseasbeh, was shown in an ISIS video released last week being burned alive.

In rejoining the airstrikes, UAE's official news agency said said the emirate "reaffirms [its] unwavering and constant solidarity with Jordan."

The BBC says: "After the murder of Lt. Kasaesbeh, Jordan's Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, said the country was 'upping the ante' against IS."

Jordan launched bombing raids against the ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq on Thursday in response to the gruesome murder of Kasasbeh. Authorities in Amman also ordered the execution of two imprisoned extremists in retaliation.

The UAE had suspended flights over concerns that there was an inadequate search-and-rescue infrastructure in place in the region to recover downed pilots.

"This is a big boost and will be helping our (Gulf) brothers shorten their flying distances and intensify strikes against the militants," an unnamed source was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The news agency says that "a U.S. State Department official said on Friday the UAE had reaffirmed its commitment to the air strike coalition and there would be 'positive news on the flight issues' in coming days."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.