ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Is ‘Frightened,’ Jordan Says
MUWAFFAQ AL-SALTI AIR BASE, Jordan — ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is running scared as a result of an intensified bombing campaign brought on by the murder of a Jordanian pilot, the head of the country’s air force said.
“He is frightened by what we did in the last three days,” Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Jabour told NBC News on Sunday. “We will not hesitate” to kill al-Baghdadi, he said. “He is going to be on top of our list.”
“[ISIS leadership] always hide and they are always on the move but we have assets always in the air for an opportunity to target al-Baghdadi and his gang,” he said. “If [al-Baghdadi] is not frightened let him show himself to us and he’ll see what we can do against him.”
The death of pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, who was burned alive in a cage by ISIS militants, triggered up to 20 sorties per day by Jordanian jets targeting the militant group’s positions in Syria.
Al-Baghdadi’s last known public appearance was at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq, in July 2014 delivering an address in which he declared the establishment of a caliphate, or traditional Islamic government. It is not known where al-Baghdadi is now, and whether he is even in Syria.
The video of the killing released on Tuesday prompted horror and revulsion across the region. On Saturday, the United Arab Emirates announced it was stationing a squadron of F-16 fighter jets in Jordan to help in the country’s fight against the militants.
“We decided to get revenge for all the Jordanians,” al-Jabour said. “We have proclaimed this the ‘Muath Air Campaign’.”
The U.S., Jordan and several other Arab allies have been striking ISIS in Syria since Sept. 23. In Iraq. The U.S. and other countries have waged a campaign against the militants for even longer.
Coalition planes have flown a total of 5,500 sorties since the beginning of the campaign, according to al-Jabour.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.