In Brief

Jordan executes two jihadists after captured pilot burnt alive

Region 'on a knife edge' as Jordan takes revenge for Islamic State murder of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh

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Jordan executed two jihadist prisoners this morning in revenge for the murder of one its pilots, who was burned alive by Islamic State.

Days after Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was beheaded, militants yesterday released a 22-minute tape apparently showing Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive in a cage.

IS had suggested it would release Goto and Kasasbeh in exchange for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber on death row in Jordan.

Kasasbeh was captured by IS after his aircraft crashed over eastern Syria in December, but Jordanian officials now believe Kasasbeh was killed in early January before negotiations even begun.

The Times suggests that IS leaders might have been trying to divert world attention away from its catastrophic defeat in the Syrian border town of Kobane.

In the video, one militant is seen lighting a fuse, which sets fire to oil poured around Kasasbeh as he stands in the cage. "The video, made using the same brash production techniques as before, is overlaid with religious chanting and the sound of a heartbeat," says the Daily Telegraph.

Jordan immediately vowed to execute its death-row Islamic extremists and followed through on its threat at dawn, with the execution of Rishawi and an al-Qaeda member, Ziad al-Karbouli.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the militants' "latest depravity" would redouble international determination to "eradicate the evil" that is IS.

The Daily Mirror's defence editor Chris Hughes says that IS has been trying to spark an uprising in Jordan for more than a year. A state crackdown on jihadism in Jordan is "entirely possible", says Hughes, and could "spark an explosion" of jihadist sleeper cells.

Israel has vowed to go to war against IS if it enters Jordan. "The entire region is now on a knife edge and could erupt in the kind of violence the west has feared ever since the Arab uprisings first started," says Hughes.

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