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Pentagon: Murder of Jordanian Pilot Will 'Sharpen Focus' on ISIS Fight

The U.S. military offered its condolences to the family of the Jordanian pilot who was murdered when ISIS militants burned him alive inside a cage.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the lead Pentagon spokesman, said the continued brutality by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants "aren't the acts of a winner" and would eventually backfire by stifling recruiting and turning more locals against ISIS.

The terrorist group released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the execution of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh who was captured after his F-16 crashed near Raqqa, Syria. This was the latest in a series of filmed executions released by ISIS displaying the terrorist group’s brutality.

Jordanian military and government officials have vowed revenge against ISIS for the murder. Kirby would not offer any details on any attacks in response to the murder, but he said the U.S. would continue to train Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers and launch bombing missions against ISIS.

"Event like this only sharpens that focus" to remain committed to defeating ISIS militants, Kirby said Tuesday.

However, he emphasized that “air strikes are not going to be enough” to defeat ISIS. It will take an extended effort from a coalition of countries that includes the U.S., Jordan, France and other Middle East countries.

The Pentagon pointed to recent victories in Kirkuk, Iraq, and Kobani, Syria, as evidence that Iraq and Kurdish forces have the capability to repel ISIS coordinated attacks.

Reports have surfaced that the murder of the pilot occurred on Jan. 3, but Kirby said the U.S. has no evidence that supports those reports.

-- Michael Hoffman can be reached at mike.hoffman@military.com

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