Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Not clear if Jordanian jet was shot down: US official........

WASHINGTON: Washington has not been able to confirm whether a Jordanian jet flying with the US-led coalition against the Islamic State was shot down or suffered a mechanical fault, a defence official said on Wednesday. 

The coalition is investigating what caused the F-16 to go down over Syria and is concerned about the pilot's well-being, the official said, after pictures emerged of the officer in the hands of IS jihadists. 

"It is not clear if the aircraft experienced mechanical failure or was struck by enemy fire," the US official told AFP in Washington, adding that there was no doubt that the Jordanian had been captured. 

Jordan did not say why the plane crashed near Raqa in eastern Syria, but the IS jihadist group and watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights both said it was shot with an anti-aircraft missile. 

The crash was the first coalition warplane lost since air strikes on IS began in Syria in September, and marks a major propaganda victory for the extremist group. 

Coalition warplanes have carried out regular strikes around Raqa, which IS has made the headquarters for its self-declared "caliphate" after seizing control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.