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Failed bomber is hanged as Jordan avenges pilot death

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Failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who was executed yesterday, at the time of her 2005 arrest

Failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who was executed yesterday, at the time of her 2005 arrest

Moaz al Kasasbeh

Moaz al Kasasbeh

AFP/Getty Images

Failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who was executed yesterday, at the time of her 2005 arrest

Jordan's king has cut short a trip to the US to rally public support for even tougher strikes against Islamic State (IS) after the extremist group burned a captured Jordanian pilot to death in a cage.

In swift retaliation, Jordan executed two Iraqis linked to al-Qaida yesterday.

The gruesome killing of 26-year-old Moaz al Kasasbeh captured while participating in airstrikes, sparked outrage across the Middle East and anti-IS protests in Jordan.

King Abdullah II, a staunch Western ally, returned home from a meeting with President Obama during which both affirmed their resolve to destroy the militants who have seized about one-third of Syria and Iraq.

Jordan believes the international community must intensify the campaign against Islamic State, said a spokesman. "This evil can and should be defeated," he said.

In the 20-minute video, the pilot displayed signs of having been beaten, including a black eye. Towards the end of the clip, he is shown wearing an orange jumpsuit. He stands in an outdoor cage as a masked militant ignites a line of fuel leading to it.

Jordan faces increasing internal and external threats. It borders areas of Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

There have also been signs of greater support for IS' ideas among Jordan's young and poor.

Following the pilot's death, Jordan launched what it said would be a tough campaign against IS.

The executed Iraqis were Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly. Al-Rishawi had been sentenced to death after her 2005 role in a triple hotel bombing that killed 60 people in Amman orchestrated by al-Qaida in Iraq, the predecessor of Islamic State. Al-Karbouly was sent to death row in 2008 for plotting terror attacks on Jordanians in Iraq.

IS had demanded Jordan release al-Rishawi in exchange for the pilot. Over the past week, Jordan had offered to trade her, but froze any swap after failing to receive proof he was alive. Jordan now believes that the airman was killed in the early days of January.

Belfast Telegraph