The Jordanian government has offered to release a convicted suicide bomber in exchange for the release of an air force pilot who was captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last month. The announcement came close to a deadline set by the terrorist organization for killing the Jordanian pilot and a Japanese journalist.
"Jordan confirms that it is completely prepared to release the prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi (convicted ISIS suicide bomber) if Moaz al-Kasasbeh (the hostage pilot) is released and his life is intact," the statement read. The statement, which appeared on state television in Jordan, did not mention the Japanese journalist.
The statement was reiterated by Mohammad Momani, the minister of state for media affairs, who on state television said that it was the top priority of the government to ensure the secure return of Kasasbeh.
This offer comes at a time when there is mounting pressure on the Jordanian government to bring back the young pilot. His father, a first lieutenant led a demonstration in capital Amman, had asked authorities to meet ISIS' demands and release the female suicide bomber.
Kasasbeh's father broke three-weeks of silence on the matter, as requested by authorities. The pilot's mother, who did not name herself, criticized the Jordanian government for getting involved in conflicts outside the country, referring to a coalition that has attacked the terrorist network.
A video that has apparently been captured by ISIS shows the missing Japanese journalist Kenji Goto pleading for Rishawi's release in exchange for his own. Although the journalist mentioned that both himself and the Jordanian pilot would be killed if authorities refused to comply with the demand, there was no indication that the pilot would be released along with the journalist. The video was made public on Tuesday.
The convicted female suicide bomber Rishawi was sentenced to death after her vest failed to detonate during a coordinated attack in Amman in 2005. She was one of four suicide bombers who took part in a planned attacked on three hotels in the Jordanian capital, killing 57 people. Kasabeh's father demanded the immediate release of Rishawi and other ISIS terrorists in the country's jails, saying they were a burden on the country.