By Staff writer
Ambassador to Washington says Major Mariam al-Mansouri is 'highly trained combat-ready pilot'
The UAE's ambassador to Washington has confirmed news reports that that country's first female air force pilot led air strikes against militants in Syria earlier this week.
Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba's confirmed rumours on Thursday as he pledged his country will do "whatever is necessary" to defeat IS.
He said F-16 pilot Major Mariam al-Mansouri played a key part in attacks against the jihadist group.
"She is a fully qualified, highly trained, combat-ready pilot, and she led the mission," al-Otaiba said during an appearance on a US cable channel. The Emirati embassy later posted word of the diplomat's confirmation on its official Twitter feed.
The UAE was one of five Arab allies, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain that supported the US-led airstrikes against IS targets inside Syria. Members of IS and Al Qaeda were reportedly killed during the mission.
Al-Mansouri was born in Abu Dhabi and graduated from the country's Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007, according to a profile published earlier this year. She is one of eight children and has a degree in English literature.
Congratulations Major Mariam Al-Mansouri you are an inspiration to our future generations
Major Mariam Al Mansour, you are truly a brave woman! A thousand salutes to you for standing up determined and courageous in the face of danger.