WATCH: UAE's first female pilot to fly F-16 fighter jet partakes in strikes on Islamic State

UAE ambassador to US confirms Major Mariam al-Mansouri led UAE's strikes against Islamic State.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
September 28, 2014 12:17
1 minute read.

First Female Pilot in UAE leads strikes on ISIS (Translated by MEMRI)

First Female Pilot in UAE leads strikes on ISIS (Translated by MEMRI)

Major Mariam al-Mansouri is the United Arab Emirates' first female pilot to fly an F-16 fighter jet and she is leading the Arab emirate's air force in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq.

The 35-year-old English literature major went on to join the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in Al Ain where she graduated in 2008.

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Mansouri recently became an international celebrity when she was reported to lead air strikes against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq, part of a US-led campaign against the militant Sunni group, al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, who have lost scores of fighters in the strikes.

IS has accused Washington and its Arab allies - Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates - of waging "war against Islam" and said they would be targeted by jihadists around the world.

But the young pilot seemed unfazed by such threats as she recently sat inside an F-16 cockpit and prepared for take-off.

"In the beginning I wasn't expecting this, but with thanks to God, I have managed to reach this dream with the support of the authorities, trainers and with encouragement from my colleagues. Thank God, I managed to reach this level," al-Mansouri said.

The UAE's ambassador to the United States confirmed last week Mansouri had led the emirate's strikes against IS, local media reported.

Al-Mansouri said her gender gave her no special treatment.

"Both men and women have the right to work in any field, as long as they do it with loyalty, determination, persistence and educating one's self with practical and scientific tools in order to reach the highest ranks to serve this country," she added.

Since capturing swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq, IS has proclaimed an Islamic "caliphate", beheaded Western hostages and ordered Shi'ites and non Muslims to convert or die.

Its rise has prompted President Barack Obama to order US airborne forces to Iraq, which they left in 2011 and to go into action over Syria for the first time.


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