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Jordan's Queen Rania joins march for murdered pilot

AFP , Friday 6 Feb 2015
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Queen Rania joined thousands of people who turned out after midday prayers in Jordan's capital Friday to express their solidarity with the pilot murdered by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Wearing a black suit and a red-and-white checked keffiyeh over her shoulders, she mixed with the crowd as it marched from the central Al-Husseini mosque to Palm Park, about one kilometres (half a mile) away.

The queen, wife of King Abdullah II, did not address the rally, where marchers chanted "We are all Maaz," a reference to pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, and "We are all Jordan."

Placards were also held aloft that read: "Yes to punishment. Yes to the eradication of terrorism."

On Thursday, the royal couple visited Kassasbeh's family -- which has urged the government to "destroy" the jihadists -- to pay their condolences.

Kassasbeh was captured by IS in December after his F-16 crashed in Syria while on a mission for the US-led coalition against the Sunni extremist group.

His death has sparked grief and deep anger in Jordan.

In November, Palestinian-born Queen Rania urged support for US-led air strikes against IS, saying the future of the Middle East and Islam were at stake.

"Our silence is the greatest gift" for IS, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria, she told a media summit in Abu Dhabi. "We are complicit in their success."

She said the fight went beyond the battleground and was between moderates and extremists worldwide.

"Winning also depends on our ability to conquer the philosophical battleground as well. Because at the heart of this assault is an ideology," she said.

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