According to reports, Jordan is willing to swap a prisoner who was convicted of a deadly terrorist attack for a Jordanian pilot held captive by ISIS militants. In addition to the pilot, the group was holding two Japanese men prisoner, one who has already been beheaded. ISIS had demanded $200 million in exchange for both of those prisoners. With time ticking down for the second Japanese, it remains unclear if the Jordanian deal includes his release.
Jordan’s Minister, Mohammed Al Momani, said in a statement that Sajida al-Rishawi, the Iraqi prisoner, would be released but only in exchange for Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, the Jordanian pilot. The statement also expressed that the pilot must be released unharmed.
Taking to Twitter, Foreign Minister for Jordan, Nasser Judeh, said that before the deal would go through, they demanded evidence that the pilot is healthy and safe. At this point, ISIS has not responded to the request.
The Iraqi prisoner is a woman who was involved in the 2005 terror attack on an Amman hotel where 60 people were killed. The majority of the people killed were at the hotel celebrating at wedding reception. Al-Rishawi and her husband went to the hotel as suicide bombers. While her husband’s bomb exploded, hers did not. For her part in the attack, Al-Rishawi was sentenced to death in a Jordanian court.
For the pilot, militants captured him after his fighter jet crashed last month close to Raqqa. If the exchange occurs, it would completely go against the hard-line approach taken by Jordan, similar to the US ally that refuses to make any negotiations with ISIS. On the other hand, if the deal does go through, a new precedent would be met.
In a message left online from ISIS, a warning was given that both al-Kaseasbeh and the Japanese captive had just 24 hours to live unless the exchange was made. In a statement released by ISIS, this would be the last message provided before the Japanese man was beheaded and the fate of the pilot changed.
The extremist who narrates the videos said that if an exchange were not done, the death of both men would fall on their respective countries. Parents of both men have appealed to their governments in an effort to get them released safely. As far as the 24 hours, that is set to end late today.