Jordan’s information minister has said his country is willing to hand over an Iraqi would-be-suicide bomber if a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State is released.
In an announcement on state television, Mohammad al Momani said: “Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al Kasaesbeh was released and his life spared.”
The pilot’s father, Safi al Kaseasbeh, had earlier implored the Jordanian government “to meet the demands” of Islamic State.
“All people must know, from the head of the regime to everybody else, that the safety of Muath means the stability of Jordan, and the death of Muath means chaos in Jordan,” he said.
Bassam al Manasseer, chairman of Jordan’s foreign affairs committee, announced earlier that negotiations with Islamic State were taking place through religious and tribal leaders in Iraq.
The news comes as the mother of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto also being held by Islamic State made a tearful appeal to Japan’s Prime Minister to help save her son.
Junko Ishido said she had begged Shinzo Abe to “Please save Kenji” and to work with the Jordanian government to secure his release.
IS warned in a video that journalist Mr Goto and Mr al Kaseasbeh would be killed within 24 hours if its demands were not met.
The video shows Mr Goto in an orange jumpsuit holding a picture of Mr al Kaseasbeh, along with an audio message of him pleading for his life.
The group said the hostages’ lives would be spared if Jordan releases Sajida al Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death for her involvement in a 2005 terrorist attack that killed 60 people.
It comes after IS apparently murdered another Japanese prisoner, Haruna Yukawa – an act condemned by Japan’s government.
Mr Goto was captured in Syria in October, apparently while trying to rescue Yukawa, 42, who was taken hostage last summer.
Mr Abe has expressed outrage at the threat to kill Mr Goto while the talks continue in Jordan.
“This was an extremely despicable act and we feel strong indignation. We strongly condemn that,” he said referring to the video.
“While this is a tough situation, we remain unchanged in our stance of seeking help from the Jordanian government in securing the early release of Mr Goto.”