WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday expressed determination to see the Islamic State group's "banished to the recesses of history" after the death of a Jordanian pilot held captive by the militant group. In a show of solidarity, he hosted Jordan's King Abdullah II for a hastily arranged meeting in the Oval Office.
Abdullah, who was on a previously scheduled trip to Washington, arrived after nightfall at the White House to meet with Obama, hours after a video emerged online purportedly showing 26-year-old Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh burned to death. Sitting side by side, the two leaders chatted but made no remarks to reporters briefly permitted to observe their meeting.
Before Abdullah's arrival, Obama vowed the pilot's death would "redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of our global coalition to make sure they are degraded and ultimately defeated."
"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. ISIL is an alternate acronym for the extremist group.
Al-Kaseasbeh, who fell into the hands of the militants in December when his Jordanian F-16 crashed in Syria, is the only pilot from the U.S.-led coalition to have been captured to date.
His death sparked outrage in Jordan, where the country's participation in the coalition against the Islamic State has not been popular. The video emerged following a weeklong drama over a possible prisoner exchange with an al-Qaida operative imprisoned in Jordan.
Vice President Joe Biden, who held a previously scheduled lunch with Abdullah in Washington Tuesday, also condemned the killings and called for the release of all prisoners held by Islamic State militants. The king also held previously scheduled meetings with senators on Capitol Hill.
Abdullah, a close U.S. ally, has portrayed the campaign against the extremists as a battle over values. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., emerged from talks with Abdullah predicting that Jordan would have a "strong and forceful" response to the pilot's death.
"The Jordanian response will be more engaged, not less engaged, when it comes to destroying ISIL," Graham said. "The king feels that the gloves are off and that it now is time if you can't negotiate with these people, you're going to have to take it to them, and I think it's going to be more than Jordan."
Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report. Follow Nedra Pickler on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nedrapickler