The Jordanian government has agreed to a prisoner swap withISIS, releasing an Iraqi extremist, on death row, for her involvement in aterrorist attack, in 2005. Mohammed al-Momani, a Jordanian government spokesmen,announced today that "Jordanis ready to release the Iraqi prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, if the Jordanianpilot, Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, is released unharmed."

Iraqi extremist, Sajida al-Rishawi was sentenced to death,in 2005, for her involvement in an al-Qaida terrorist attack that killed over60 people in an Amman hotel. This is the first time that the Islamic State demandedthe release of prisoners in exchange for hostages.

ISIS captured Jordanian Lieutenant Pilot, Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh,in December, after his F-16 crashed near Raqqa, in Syria. Two months prior, theIslamic State had taken Japanese freelance journalist, Kenji Goto, hostage. OnTuesday 27th, the rebels released a video threatening to kill both hostagesif Jordan didn’t agree to release al-Rishawi, in the next 24 hours.

More than 200 people protested outside of the prime-minister’shouse in Amman, demanding that the government secures the Lieutenant Pilot’srelease. Most of the population is against the Jordanian involvement in aUS-led coalition that started an aerial campaign against ISIS, in August. Thepilot’s father explained to the Associated Press that “all people must know, fromthe head of the regime to everybody else, that the safety of Mu’ath means thestability of Jordan and the death of Mu’ath means chaos in Jordan”.

There was no mention of Mr Goto during the announcement, making it unclear if theJapanese hostage is also involved in this agreed prisoner swap. His mom, JunkoIshido, made a second public appeal to the Japanese Prime-Minister, Shinzo Abe,to “save Kenji’s life”. The Japanese Foreign Affairs minister said that Japan “wouldlike to work together with the Jordanian government to secure the release ofGoto”. 

The last video released by ISIS, on Tuesday, featured a man believed to be Mr Goto, saying that “time is running very short”and “it’s me for her [al-Rishawi], a simple exchange,” leaving his friends andrelatives hopeful that he could be released along with the Jordanian LieutenantPilot, Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, within the next hours.