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Pictures appear to show ISIS burning hostage pilot alive while trapped in cage

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-03 12:50:44-05

Pictures published on ISIS’ official al Furqan media site apparently show Jordanian military pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh being burned alive while confined in a cage.

CNN is not showing images of the pilot’s murder.

Militants say they captured al-Kassasbeh after he ejected from his crashing F-16 on December 24, having taken part in U.S.-led coalition airstrikes near ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.

Almost immediately after that, he became a major pawn for ISIS. The Islamist extremist group had taken hostages before, some of them from Western nations. But they hadn’t gotten their hands on anyone from the U.S.-led military coalition who was actively fighting to defeat it.

His capture also got the attention of many in Jordan, including King Abdullah, who has been a pillar of the international effort against ISIS and is himself a former helicopter pilot.

Jordanian officials even openly talked about possibly swapping Sajida al-Rishawi, a female jihadist imprisoned in Jordan for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing, for al-Kassasbeh. That demand was made via Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who also was taken captive by ISIS.

Yet Goto, like several other hostages before him, was killed, according to a video posted Saturday, before any exchange could occur. And now too, apparently, is al-Kassasbeh.

One of eight children, he comes from Karak governorate in Jordan and graduated from King Hussein Air College, the newspaper says.

At the time of his capture, his father, Safi al-Kassasbeh, told the Jordan Times that his son was “a very modest and religious person” who memorized the Quran and “was never harmful to anyone.”

Safi al-Kassasbeh was later up front and public, demanding that Jordan do everything it can to free his son.

“I firmly ask whomever has sent Moaz to fight outside the borders of Jordan, on a mission unrelated to us, to make strong efforts to bring back Moaz,” he said.

“Moaz’s blood is precious, it’s precious and it represents the blood of all Jordanians.”

By: Greg Botelho and Jason Hanna for CNN