United Arab Emirates’ first female fighter pilot led airstrike against ISIS

Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 26, 2014

(CNN) – Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri may be ISIS’s worst nightmare.

The first female fighter pilot in the United Arab Emirates, she led a strike mission this week against the terror group, that country’s ambassador to the United States said Thursday.

“She is (a) fully qualified, highly trained, combat ready pilot, and she led the mission,” Yousef Al Otaiba told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The UAE has joined the United States and a handful of other Arab nations in conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

This summer, the group declared the establishment of a “caliphate,” an Islamic state stretching across the territory it has conquered. It maintains strict rules for women, who are lashed for infractions such as not being fully covered.

Al Otaiba said the campaign against ISIS basically boils down to the question of what type of society one wants.

“It’s important for us — moderate Arabs, moderate Muslims — to step up and say this is a threat against us. This is more of a threat against us than it is against you. This is not just a threat to our countries. This is a threat to our way of life,” the ambassador told MSNBC.

CNN spoke to Al Mansouri earlier this year about her work. She had wanted to be a fighter pilot since she finished high school, but had to wait until women were allowed.

“At that time, the doors were not open for females to be pilots. So I had to wait almost 10 years for the decision to be taken,” Al Mansouri said.

She stressed there’s no difference between men and women when it comes to defending their country.

“We are in a hot area so that we have to prepare every citizen,” Al Mansouri said. “Of course, everybody is responsible of defending their country — male or female. When the time will come, everybody will jump in.”