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UAE renews strikes against Islamic State, deploys F-16 squadron to Jordan

The UAE previously ceased its strikes against Islamic State after the group took Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh prisoner -- and has now renewed its effort after IS burned him alive.

By Fred Lambert
UAE renews strikes against Islamic State, deploys F-16 squadron to Jordan
An F-16E from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, lands at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada following a Red Flag air combat training exercise. U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

AMMAN, Jordan, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The United Arab Emirates is deploying a squadron of F-16s to assist Jordan in airstrikes against Islamic State targets following the Sunni militant group's immolation of a Jordanian pilot.

The UAE had previously halted its participation in Operation Inherent Resolve, a U.S.-led international bombing campaign against IS, when Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by the militant group last year after his jet went down in northern Syria.

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IS earlier this week released a video depicting 26-year-old al-Kasasbeh being burned to death in a cage. The video provoked international condemnation and outrage in the Arab world as Jordan's King Abdullah II promised a "severe" response and ordered the execution of two Iraqis convicted of terrorism charges.

According to WAM, the UAE's official news agency, the aircraft deployment was ordered by Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, under directives from President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

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WAM reported that the move "reaffirms the U.A.E.'s unwavering and constant solidarity with Jordan and its leading role and immense sacrifices for the security and stability of the region as embodied by martyr and hero Moaz al-Kasasbeh."

The Jordanian government reportedly said it is coordinating efforts with UAE on the "highest level."

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