Prisoner negotiations between Jordan and ISIS have reached a stalemate after ISIS failed to give evidence that captured Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh is still alive.
Authorities first announced on Wednesday that they were willing to exchange Kasasbeh for Sajida al-Rishawi, a female terrorist who has been imprisoned in Jordan since 2005. Since then, ISIS has killed two Japanese hostages, but the group has remained silent on the Jordanian’s fate. (RELATED: Amid Criticism, Jordan Agrees To ISIS Prisoner Swap)
Jordan has been a staunch American ally in the bombing campaign against ISIS, in which Kasasbeh was a participant. But in a break from longstanding U.S. policy, the country has been open about its negotiations with the terrorist organization.
Kasasbeh and his grieving relatives have been at the forefront of Jordanian public attention since his plane crashed in ISIS-held territory in December. But since threatening several weeks ago to kill him, Jordanians have become increasingly vehement in demanding that their government secure his release.
According to Al-Arabiya, Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani has said the country is “monitoring the situation around the clock with its entire apparatus,” and Kasasbeh’s safety must be verified before “proceeding with the conversation about other steps.”
The Jordanian government has also presented its own ultimatum to ISIS: if Kasasbeh is not brought to safety, it will expedite the executions of the ISIS-affiliated prisoners in its custody.
Meanwhile, President Obama has spoken about an unnamed 26-year-old American woman being held by ISIS. On Monday, he said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” that the U.S. was “deploying all assets” in efforts to locate the group’s hostages. Previous reports have claimed that ISIS has demanded $6.6 million for the woman.
The New York Times on Monday questioned ISIS’ tactical use of hostages, writing that the group has “failed to achieve either of their professed goals” in recent weeks, extracting no ransom money from the Japanese government and depleting its reserve of foreign hostages.
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