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Obama condemns Islamic State militants for ‘viciousness and barbarity’

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama offered condolences to the people of Jordan and King Abdullah II of Jordan for the killing of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State militants and declared that the U.S. and its allies are determined to see the militants and their “hateful ideology banished to the recesses of history.”

Vice President Joe Biden, who lunched with the king in Washington Tuesday, also condemned the killings and called for the release of all prisoners held by Islamic State.

The reactions from the president and the vice president came after the Jordanian military confirmed the death of Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, 26, who fell into the hands of the militants in December when his Jordanian F-16 crashed in Syria. He is the only pilot from the U.S.-led coalition to have been captured to date.

A video released online Tuesday purportedly showed Al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death by his captors following a weeklong drama over a possible prisoner exchange.

“Lieutenant Al-Kaseasbeh’s dedication, courage, and service to his country and family represent universal human values that stand in opposition to the cowardice and depravity of ISIL, which has been so broadly rejected around the globe,” Obama said.

Earlier, Obama had said that if the video was authentic it was yet further evidence of the Islamic State group’s “viciousness and barbarity.”

Obama said the death would “redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of our global coalition to make sure they are degraded and ultimately defeated.”

Abdullah, who was in Washington for meetings with Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, was to attend Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, which Obama is also scheduled to attend. While there were no plans for Obama to hold a formal session with the king, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there was a chance they could see each other at the prayer event.

Abdullah met privately Tuesday with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., offered condolences at the start of the meeting. Abdullah had no comments to reporters who shouted questions as he arrived for the meeting.

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