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Jordanian F-16 crashes, pilot captured by Islamic State

December 24, 2014 (by Asif Shamim) - Jordanian state news agency reported the countries armed forces had lost a warplane on Wednesday morning while flying a mission over Syria and one of its pilots had been captured by Islamic State (IS).

This is the first time a coalition pilot has allegedly been brought down and taken captive since operations started.

Jordanian PETRA news agency say the aircraft was downed over the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which is under ISIS control and is described as there stronghold in the area. Unconfirmed reports suggest it was shot down using a heat seeking missile.

Other news agencies have shown pictures supposedly uploaded by ISIS of the downed pilot after capture, naming him as 1st Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

"Jordan holds the terror organization and those who support it responsible for the safety of the pilot and the preservation of his life," sources in Jordan's armed forces said.

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

The United States on Wednesday stated that the Jordanian F-16 (ex Belgian Air Force #80-3569) was not shot down by the Islamic State (ISIS) as the group has claimed. The statement didn't cite a cause for the crash

Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, said the United States will support efforts to recover the pilot, Moaz al-Kassasbeh.

Additional images:

RJAF F-16AM #149 seen landing at Aviano AB on March 19th, 2009, during a stopover before continuing onto Jordan. This aircraft is ex-BAF #FA-78. [Photo by Marco Sommacal]

BAF F-16A block 15 #FA-78 from 31 sqn is seen taxiing during the airshow at RAF Finningley on September 17th, 1988. [Photo by Nigel Watson]