US Central Command released a statement on Wednesday afternoon disputing a claim made by the jihadist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) that they shot down a Jordanian F-16 aircraft earlier in the day.
“Evidence clearly indicates that ISIL did not down the aircraft as the terrorist organisation is claiming,” the statement said.
Islamic State fighters in the Syrian city of Raqqah released photos showing a man they identified as a captured Jordanian pilot. The Jordanian Armed Forces, which are part of the international coalition fighting ISIS, confirmed one of its warplanes went down on a mission in the area.
CENTCOM’s statement included a quote from General Lloyd J. Austin III, who is overseeing the American military operations against ISIS. Though Austin confirmed a Jordanian pilot was captured by the group, he suggested the F-16 crashed on its own.
“The Jordanians are highly-respected and valued partners and their pilots and crews have performed exceptionally well over the course of this campaign,” Austin said. “We strongly condemn the actions of ISIL which has taken captive the downed pilot. We will support efforts to ensure his safe recovery, and will not tolerate ISIL’s attempts to misrepresent or exploit this unfortunate aircraft crash for their own purposes.”
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