The UAE’s 1st female fighter pilot strikes ISIS

Major Mariam Al Mansouri, the UAE's first female fighter pilot.

Major Mariam Al Mansouri, the UAE’s first female fighter pilot.

A senior United Arab Emirates diplomat confirmed on Thursday the country’s first female air force pilot helped carry out airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants earlier this week.

The Emirati embassy in Washington said on its official Twitter feed on Thursday that Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba confirmed the F-16 pilot’s role.

Rumors had swirled on social media that Maj. Mariam al-Mansouri was involved in the airstrikes, but Emirati officials had not previously confirmed that was the case, the Associated Press reported.

The government-owned newspaper The National reported in a June profile that al-Mansouri was born in Abu Dhabi and graduated from Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007.

In a Thursday interview on the UAE’s commitment in combating ISIS and fighting extremism on the live-broadcast American television show Morning Joe, a weekday morning talk show on MSNBC, the UAE envoy said: “We will bring whatever it takes to defeat ISIS and other forms of extremism.”

On the same day, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said that 10 warplanes from Saudi Arabia and the UAE played the leading role in the latest round of air strikes in Syria, according to Agence France-Presse.

The air strikes on Wednesday pounded modular oil refineries in eastern Syria, in an effort to choke off ISIS finances.

One U.S. official told Reuters that such refineries could produce about $2 million a day in oil revenue.

The UAE is one of five Arab countries that have joined the U.S.-led coalition carrying out the airstrikes in Syria.


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