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Jordan Willing to Exchange Prisoner for IS Hostage

  • VOA News

A woman holds a picture of her son, Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by Islamic State group militants, in Amman, Jordan, Jan. 27, 2015.

A woman holds a picture of her son, Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, who is held by Islamic State group militants, in Amman, Jordan, Jan. 27, 2015.

Jordan's information minister says his government is ready to trade a jailed terror suspect for a Jordanian pilot being held by Islamic State militants.

Mohammad al-Momani made the announcement on state television Wednesday, as a deadline for the possible execution of the hostages approached.

Al-Momani said if the pilot, Lieutenant Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, is released unharmed, Jordan will hand over Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman convicted of participation in a 2005 terror attack that killed 60 people in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

A passerby is silhouetted against a large TV broadcasting a news program showing a still photo of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, in Tokyo, Jan. 28, 2015.

A passerby is silhouetted against a large TV broadcasting a news program showing a still photo of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, in Tokyo, Jan. 28, 2015.

Al-Momani did not mention a second hostage, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who has also been threatened with execution. Japan has requested help from Jordan to secure Goto's release.

Japanese hostage's mother begs for his release

Goto's mother made a plea for his release on Wednesday, publicly reading a request directed at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to "do everything in your power" to obtain her son's release. She said her son is not an enemy of Islam.

On Saturday, the Islamic State released a video showing Goto holding pictures of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, apparently beheaded.

In the video, a man's voice directly addresses Abe, accusing him of responsibility for Yukawa's death.

The Islamic State group, which controls a third of Syria and Iraq, threatened last week to behead the Japanese hostages unless it received a $200 million ransom.

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