Jordan’s information minister said Wednesday the nation is willing to release a would-be suicide bomber in return for a Jordanian pilot being held captive by ISIS.
In a statement to state-run media, Mohammad Momani said Jordan was prepared to free Iraqi prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi from death row in return for pilot Mu’ath al-Kasaesbeh, who has been held by ISIS since his place crashed in Syria in December.
Al-Rishawi’s explosives failed to detonate during a 2005 attack on a hotel in Amman, Jordan. She is the sister of a top commander under the former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike in 2006. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also served as a lieutenant under Zarqawi.
The Jordanian statement made no mention of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist who ISIS said it would execute within 24 hours if al-Rishawi was not released. Japanese officials did not immediately respond to Jordan’s announcement — but have previously indicated they were working closely with the country.
ISIS initially demanded a ransom of $200 million for the release of Goto and fellow Japanese captive Haruna Yukawa. However, ISIS released a video on Saturday claiming it had beheaded Yukawa and requesting al-Rishawi’s release instead.