Jordan says ready to release Iraqi woman militant if pilot released
AMMAN - Reuters
In this Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 photo, a woman holds a picture of her son, Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by ISIL militants. AP PhotoJordan's government spokesperson said on Jan. 28 his country was willing to hand over an Iraqi would-be-suicide bomber if a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was released.
"Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh was released and his life spared," Mohammad al-Momani, a governemnt spokesperson, was quoted on state television as saying.
He did not make any reference to Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
Kasaesbeh was captured after his jet crashed in northeastern Syria in December during a bombing mission against ISIL.
His fate was thought to be tied to that of Goto after a video was released on Jan. 27 purporting to show the Japanese national saying he had 24 hours to live unless Jordan released al-Rishawi.
The voice on the video said Kasaesbeh had a shorter time to live. Japan confirmed the existence of the video at 11 p.m. (14:00 GMT) on Jan. 27.
Momani said Jordan’s priority was to secure the release of the pilot, who hails from an important Jordanian tribe that forms the backbone of support for the Hashemite monarchy.
Several hundred people, including Kasaesbeh’s relatives, gathered in front of the office of Jordan’s prime minister on Tuesday, urging authorities to meet the demands of ISIL.
Al-Rishawi has been held in Jordan over her role in a suicide bombing that killed 60 people in the capital Amman.