The head of Sunni Islam's most respected seat of learning has expressed his outrage over the purported burning to death by the Islamic State group of a captured Jordanian pilot, calling for the killing, crucifixion or chopping off the limbs of the militants.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque, said the Islamic State group militants deserved such Quran-prescribed punishment because they were in effect fighting God and his Prophet Muhammad.

A statement from al-Tayeb released late Tuesday said that by burning Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh to death, militants violated Islam's prohibition on the mutilation of bodies, even at wartime.

Al-Kaseasbeh was captured in December when his F-16 crashed while he was flying a mission as part of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State group.