UAE sends F-16 jets to Jordan to fight ISIS

A squadron of United Arab Emirates F-16 fighters stationed in one of Jordan's air bases to support strikes against the Islamic State group on Feb 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
A squadron of United Arab Emirates F-16 fighters stationed in one of Jordan's air bases to support strikes against the Islamic State group on Feb 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

Move meant to support intensified air strikes against militant group

DUBAI - The United Arab Emirates has ordered a squadron of F-16 fighter jets to Jordan to back its air campaign against terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The stationing of UAE aircraft in Jordan is designed to support its "effective participation" in the US-led coalition against extremist militants, said a statement published by the UAE state news agency, WAM, late last Saturday.

Jordan started bombing ISIS positions in Syria last Thursday, two days after the group released a video showing captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh being burned alive inside a cage.

King Abdullah II has vowed to wage a relentless war against ISIS to avenge the airman's death.

"This is a big boost and will be helping our (Gulf) brothers shorten their flying distances and intensify strikes against the militants," an army source in Amman told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Jordan is among the Sunni Muslim states that have joined the US military campaign to expel ISIS from territory it has seized in Syria and Iraq.

Yesterday, Jordan's air force chief Mansour al-Jbour said his country's jet fighters had conducted 56 raids in three days of intensified bombing targeting a stronghold of ISIS militants in north- east Syria, destroying logistics centres and arms depots.

Separately, in an interview with BBC radio to be broadcast yesterday, Britain's Prince Charles said the number of vulnerable young Muslims being radicalised by "crazy stuff" on the Internet was "frightening".

The heir to the throne also voiced concern about Christians fleeing the Middle East in droves, saying the situation might end with very few left in the cradle of the religion.

"You'd think that the people who have come here, born here, go to school here would abide by those values and outlooks.

"But the frightening part is that people can be so radicalised either through contact with somebody else or through the Internet and the extraordinary amount of crazy stuff which is on the Internet," said the 66-year-old.

Prince Charles is on a tour of Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE scheduled to last from last Saturday to Thursday.

His comments come as Tunisia said it had arrested 32 militants, some of them returning from fighting in Syria, who planned "spectacular" attacks.

"Counter-terrorism forces foiled plots to carry out spectacular attacks against vital installations, including the Interior Ministry, security stations and civilian buildings in the capital Tunis," said an Interior Ministry spokesman last Saturday. The number of Tunisians fighting in Syria has been estimated at 3,000.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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