In an unprecedented move, Jordanian officials agreed to free and ISIS prison in exchange for a pilot from their country, as well as the possible release of a Japanese journalist also being held captive by militants. However, with the deadline having come and gone, there has been no word on if the men have been released or killed as threatened.
According to Jordan’s military, country officials continued to work around the clock to get Mu’ath al-Kasaesbeh freed, following last month’s fighter jet crash in Syria. ISIS had threatened the pilot would be beheaded if one of their prisoners, Sajida al-Rishawi, was not released by sunset yesterday. She has been on death row for her part in the 2005 suicide bombing that left many people at a wedding reception dead and injured.
In support of the two hostages being freed, people in both Japan and Jordan were in the streets this morning, calling for the men to be returned home safely.
The last threat regarding the pilot was in a recorded voice message. Trying to get her husband freed, Kenji Goto’s wife also made an emotional packed plea to the Islamic militant group late Thursday. In her appeal, she also asked for the release of the Jordanian pilot held prisoner. Unfortunately, the released message made no promises that either one of the men would be released in exchange for al-Rishawi’s freedom.
Earlier last week, another video was released of the militant group holding the head of the second Japanese man captured, Haruna Yukawa. The same man who has spoken in all the ISIS beheading tapes personally addressed Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, saying it was his fault that Yukama was dead.
Although there are still conflicting reports, information has leaked that the only reason the last Japanese hostage, Goto, was captured is because he was trying to help rescue Yukawa last year.
While Jordan agreed to make an exchange, Japan’s Prime Minister took at different approach by offering $200 million in non-military aid for countries fighting against ISIS, the same amount of money the captives demanded for the safe return of the two Japanese men.
At this time, all Jordanian officials can do is wait and see if the Islamic militant group will accept the offer of exchanging prisoners.