Jordan says ready to release Iraqi militant if pilot released

Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi (L) if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Maaz al-Kasaesbeh (R) was released. (Al Arabiya)

Jordan’s government spokesperson said on Wednesday his country was willing to hand over an Iraqi would-be-suicide bomber if a Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS was released.

“Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant [Maaz] al-Kasaesbeh was released and his life spared,” Mohammad al-Momani, a governemnt spokesperson, was quoted on state television as saying.

He did not make any reference to Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.

ISIS previously demanded the release of Sajida al-Rishawi who is being held in Jordan for allegedly attempting to carry out a series of terrorist attacks in 2005, Reuters news agency reported.

In a broadcast carried by the Al-Bayan radio, which transmits in areas the group controls, ISIS described Sajida al-Rishawi as “our sister” asking for her release in exchange for the freedom of Kenji Goto, a Japanese hostage held by the militants.

Rishawi is a would-be Iraqi female suicide bomber on death row in Jordan in connection with triple hotel bomb attacks in Amman that killed 60 people on November 9, 2005.

Following her arrest, she appeared on state television confessing that she had taken part in the terror attacks.

“My husband detonated his bomb, and I tried to detonate mine but failed,” Rishawi said in a televised confession, CNN reported.

She said she is an Iraqi national who had been sent to Jordan to target hotels in Amman. In 2006, she was sentenced to death but a policy in Jordan imposed later that year suspended death sentences.

In the confession, al-Rishawi said, “My husband is the one who organized everything.”

The Amman bombings were claimed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq who was killed in a U.S. air raid there in June 2006.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44