Jordan fulfils its king’s vow with more air strikes against reviled IS

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Jordanian fighter jets have carried out new air strikes, the military said, following the vow by the country’s king to wage a “harsh” war against “Islamic State” (IS) militants who control parts of neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

King Abdullah II pledged to step up the fight against IS after the militants burned a captive Jordanian pilot in a cage and released a video of the killing earlier this week.

The images have sent waves of revulsion across the globe.

War planes roared overhead as the king paid a condolence visit to the family of the pilot, Lt Muath al-Kaseasbeh, in his village in southern Jordan.

The king pointed at the aircraft as he sat next to the victim’s father.

Abdullah has said Jordan’s response “will be harsh because this terrorist organisation is not only fighting us, but also fighting Islam and its pure values”.

In a statement, he pledged to hit the militants “hard in the very centre of their strongholds”.

The army statement did not say which country was targeted by the air strikes.

Jordan is part of a US-led military coalition which has bombed IS targets since last autumn, but until now Jordanian war planes were only known to have carried out raids in Syria.

In Washington, leading members of US Congress have called for increased US military assistance to the kingdom.

Currently, the US is providing Jordan with a billion dollars (£658m) annually in economic and military assistance.

IS is systematically killing, torturing and raping children and families of minority groups in Iraq, the United Nations warned, as it called on government forces there to do more to protect them.

In a report issued in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said it has received reports of “several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive”.

Iraq’s military has been struggling in its fight against Islamic State, and the government has pleaded repeatedly for more weapons and training.

Still, the UN agency urged that more be done, saying Iraq needs to “take all necessary actions to ensure the safety and protection of children and their families”.

Meanwhile, African Union officials are finalising plans for a multi-national force to fight Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremists – although questions remain about funding for the mission.

A UN official said senior officers from the UN peacekeeping department were attending the meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital.

The African Union last week authorised a 7,500-strong force from Nigeria and its four neighbours to fight the spreading Islamic uprising. The official said the African nations want UN Security Council approval and money to fund the mission.

While talks are ongoing, it has emerged that Boko Haram fighters have shot or burned to death dozens of civilians in a border town near Nigeria, Cameroon’s government spokesman said.

Some 800 Islamist extremists attacking the town of Fotokol have “burned churches, mosques and villages and slaughtered youths who resisted joining them to fight Cameroonian forces”, information minister Issa Tchiroma Bakari said.