- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

U.S. military officials refuted claims Wednesday that the Islamic State downed a Jordanian jet on a bombing mission in support of the U.S.-led military coalition over Syria.

“We can say with certainty that it was an aircraft crash and the plane was not downed by ISIL as was claimed by the terrorist organization,” U.S. Central Command spokeswoman Cmdr. Lisa Brackenbury said.

The warplane crashed near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. Militants captured the pilot after he ejected from his F-16, marking the first coalition solder to fall into the group’s hands.

U.S. Central Command issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, which said that evidence clearly indicated the Islamic State was not responsible for the  crash, as activists on the ground reportedly claimed. Cmdr. Brackenbury said the regional military authority had noticed that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, was touting its ability to crash the Jordanian jet on Twitter.

U.S. Central Command did not specify what type of evidence it had collected in order to refute the claims. Instead, Cmdr. Brackenbury noted that the coalition intended to launch an investigation into the the events leading up to the jet crash.

“As with all aircraft crashes, a thorough investigation will be conducted,” she said. “The investigation will take time and we will not discuss any of the specific details while it is underway. But, again, we can say with certainty that this was an aircraft crash and not the result of enemy action.”

Jordan is one of several Arab partner nations participating in coalition operations in Syria. More than 40 nations support Operation Inherent Resolve by donating food and humanitarian supplies, training the Iraqis or conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

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