Jordan Says 7,000 ISIS Fighters Killed In 3 Days Of Airstrikes; U.A.E. Rejoins Bombings

(REUTERS/Petra News Agency)F-16 fighter jets from the United Arab Emirates arrive at an air base in Jordan on Feb. 8, 2015.

Jordan has sworn to eradicate the so-called Islamic State while announcing the killing of 7,000 ISIS fighters after three days of airstrikes.

In another major development, the United Arab Emirates has announced that it is set to join the airstrikes on the jihadist group based in Syria and Iraq.

Jordan's Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali said on Saturday his country will go after ISIS "wherever they are" and will "wipe them out completely."

On Sunday, Jordan's air force chief said his country's jet fighters had conducted 56 bombing raids in three days against the jihadists in northeast Syria, killing least 7,000 of them following attacks on key ISIS bases and arms depots.

Jordan stepped up its bombing of the jihadist group on Thursday in response to the brutal killing by the ISIS of captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh. No new strikes were announced for Sunday.

"We achieved what we aimed for. We destroyed logistics centers, arms depots and targeted hideouts of their fighters," Gen. Mansour al-Jbour, head of the Jordanian airforce, told a news conference.

Jordan has carried out nearly a fifth of the sorties of the U.S.-led coalition against the jihadist group in Syria to date, Jbour said. U.S. aircraft joined the mission to provide intelligence, surveillance, a U.S. official told Reuters earlier on Sunday.

The raids had "degraded" nearly 20 percent of ISIS' capabilities, he said.

Jbour said Jordan's objectives are to try to hit ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, stop the group's illicit oil trade, and destroy their training bases, garrisons and command centers.

"We are determined to wipe them from the face of the Earth," the general said.

Jordan's King Abdullah has vowed to avenge the killing of pilot Mouath al-Kasasbeh and has ordered his commanders to prepare for a bigger military role in the international coalition fighting the ISIS.

The Jordanian king is pressing on with the offensive despite mounting fears that Jordan's increasing involvement in the war against the jihadists could trigger a backlash by hard-line militants inside the kingdom.

Concerns have likewise been raised that the ISIS might strike back at Jordan, but officials in Amman said they are ready for "anyone who wants to interfere in the security of Jordan."

The officials asked Jordanians to report any suspicious behavior, especially in communities with large populations of non-Jordanians.

Moreover, Jordanian military experts said the kingdom could soon struggle to sustain the intensity of the past few days of airstrikes, considering that their country only has 40 aging F16 jets at its disposal.

A squadron of F16 jet fighters from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Jordan on Sunday a day after the Gulf state announced it was being sent to bolster the coalition's military effort.

U.A.E. pilots will conduct joint air strikes with their Jordanian colleagues against the jihadists, Jordanian officials said on Saturday.

Safi al-Kasasbeh, father of the slain Jordanian pilot, told CNN that King Abdullah II promised him that the country would avenge his son's death and bombard the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria.

He said on Thursday that the King told him 30 Jordanian fighter jets participated in the first wave of airstrikes.

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