The new issue of the Islamic State’s online magazine, Dabiq, features a purported interview with Maaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian air force pilot, who was shot down Dec. 24 while taking part in coalition military operations over Syria.
An article entitled, “The Capture of a Crusader Pilot,” describes operational details of the air campaign against the Islamic State, including the names of bases housing coalition aircraft and the nature of his own role within the air campaign. The remarks are attributed to al-Kassasbeh, identified in the article simply as murtadd, or “apostate.”
Though there is no way to independently verify the magazine’s account, the interview is accompanied by a picture of what appears to be an official military ID card issued to al-Kassasbeh.
The interview touches on the scope of American operations against the Islamic State, describing the presence of roughly 200 American personnel stationed at Muwaffaq al-Salti Air Base in Jordan. The magazine also attributes to the pilot details of American forces taking part in operations and socializing with other coalition pilots over dinner; he is also quoted describing a technical malfunction which resulted in the death of an American service member earlier this month.
The pilot’s capture attracted immediate international attention when online supporters of the Islamic State began disseminating images of a bloodied al-Kassasbeh being taken away from his downed jet, surrounded by exultant Islamic State fighters. The Jordanian government has demanded the release of al-Kassasbeh, warning of “grave consequences” if the pilot is harmed by the group.
His family has also appealed for his release, pleading with Islamic State leaders to treat him hospitably and ensure his safe return. “I hope God will put mercy in their hearts and they will release my son,” his father said in comments reportedly given to Saraya News.
The interview in Dabiq concludes grimly, with the pilot’s interlocutor asking him if he has watched previous videos of the Islamic State executing prisoners; a question he answers in the negative. The interviewer says he will make sure the “jailers” provide him with one of the videos.
In response to whether he knows what the Islamic State plans to do with him, al-Kassasbeh is quoted as replying: “Yes…They will kill me.”
Source: Dabiq Magazine