Jordan has agreed to demands from ISIS that it release a female jihadist held since 2006, in a move that could free a Jordanian pilot captured in Syria last month and possibly a Japanese journalist who pleaded for his life in a video released by the terror group on Tuesday.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said in a statement the nation was prepared to free Sajida al-Rishawi, who was convicted of taking part in a deadly hotel bombing, if the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, is released unharmed. His comments were carried by Jordan’s official Petra news agency. Although he made no mention of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, a hostage audio message released by Islamic State a day earlier tied Goto’s fate to that of Al-Rishawi, as well.
Al-Rishawi was sentenced to death in Jordan for her involvement in a 2005 terrorist attack by Al Qaeda on hotels in Amman that killed 60 people. Jordan is reportedly in indirect talks with the militants through religious and tribal leaders in Iraq to secure the hostages’ release. The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of Jordan’s parliament, Bassam Al-Manasseer, has been quoted as saying that Jordan and Japan would not negotiate directly with the Islamic State group and would not free al-Rishawi for the Japanese hostage only.