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Jordan Strikes At ISIS; Obama Said To Be Preparing To Request War Powers

Repeated air strikes on the self-described Islamic State are "the beginning of our retaliation" for the extremist group's brutal killing of a captured pilot, Jordan's foreign minister says.

Nasser Judeh made the remark on CNN, adding that Jordan will continue to target ISIS fighters and facilities in both Iraq and Syria.

"We are upping the ante. We're going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have," Judeh said.

The fight against ISIS is also a hot topic in Washington, where President Obama reportedly plans to ask Congress to authorize the use of military force against the extremist group. The Associated Press notes that the president has been relying on Sept. 11-era authorizations, and that the process of getting new legislation won't be simple.

"His actions are going to be an important part of trying for us to get the votes to actually pass an authorization," House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday. "This is not going to be an easy lift."

There's no word yet on the timing of the request, which the AP says would cover three years.

In the meantime, the U.S. military is putting search and rescue crews closer to the fighting in northern Iraq.

From Amman, Jordan's capital, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports:

"After Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh was captured by the so-called Islamic State when his plane crashed in December, the United Arab Emirates withdrew its aircraft from anti-ISIS coalition airstrikes.

"A retired Jordanian air force general tells NPR that the UAE move was understandable, because search and rescue capabilities need to be improved.

"So news that U.S. search and rescue crews are moving to northern Iraq to be closer to the battle space has been greeted warmly here. Al-Kaseasbeh's brutal killing has many Jordanians backing their country's role in the fight against ISIS, and the king says Jordan's response will be harsh and ongoing."

As the Two-Way reported Thursday, a U.N. report issued this week gave more details about ISIS' brutal tactics, noting "several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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