Jordan demands ISIL show proof captured pilot still alive

World Today

Safi al-Kaseasbeh, left, father of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by Islamic State group militants, attends a protest in front of the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Photo: AP

The fate of a Japanese journalist and Jordanian pilot held hostage by the Islamic State is unknown since the latest deadline imposed by the group has passed. CCTV America’s Nathan King reported this story from Washington, D.C.

Jordan demands ISIL show proof captured pilot still alive

The fate of a Japanese journalist and Jordanian pilot held hostage by the Islamic State is unknown since the latest deadline imposed by the group has passed. CCTV America’s Nathan King reported this story from Washington, D.C.

Jordan demanded proof from Islamic State militants on Thursday that a Jordanian pilot they are holding is still alive, despite purported threats by the group to kill the airman at sunset unless an al-Qaida prisoner is freed from death row in Jordan.

However ISIL did not specifically say it would release the pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured after his jet crashed in Syria last month during a bombing mission. All the terrorist group indicated is that it would kill him if Sajisda al-Rishawi — a woman who failed in a suicide attempt in 2005 and is now on death row in Jordan — was not handed over.

Jordan had offered to hand over the convicted terrorist in return for pilot, but there are reports that the negotiations to get both men freed have now collapsed.

The organization did pledge to release the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who has been pictured holding the Jordanian pilot’s picture saying he too will be killed if there is no swap.

Both families of the hostages issued emotional appeals. Jordanian and Japanese officials have been working around the clock to try and secure the release of their men but Jordan has asked for proof that the captured pilot is alive. That has not happened and they are repeating that call.

A Jordanian government spokesman said Thursday afternoon that Al-Rishawi, remained in Jordan.

Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally in the region, has faced difficult choices in the hostage drama. Any swap with the Islamic State group would run counter to its tough approach toward Islamic extremists, but it also faces domestic pressure to bring home the pilot.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said that the Islamic State group has not offered proof that the pilot is still alive and that this is holding up any swap.

The militants have purportedly threatened to kill al-Kaseasbeh by sundown Iraq time unless Jordan frees al-Rishawi, and delivers an Iraqi woman to the Turkish border. Al-Rishawi has close family ties to the al-Qaida branch in Iraq, a forerunner of the Islamic State group, and was involved in deadly Amman hotel bombings by al-Qaida a decade ago.

The purported audio threat to kill the pilot was read in English by a voice the Japanese government said was likely that of Goto. It was released online late Wednesday after Jordan offered in principle to swap Al-Rishawi for the pilot. It wasn’t clear what Goto’s fate would be if the woman isn’t released.

There is also growing opposition in Jordan for its military involvement in the coalition against the Islamic State group and questions in Japan about its commitment to the coalition too and its refusal to pay ransoms.

This story is compiled with information CCTV America and Associated Press reports.


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