Jordan FM denies prisoner Rishawi's release

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Jordan would release prisoner Sajda Rishawi if the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant militant group released Jordanian air force pilot Moaz al-Kasasba

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Jordan would release prisoner Sajda Rishawi if the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant militant group released Jordanian air force pilot Moaz al-Kasasba

AMMAN – Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Wednesday said Jordan would release prisoner Sajda Rishawi if the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group released Jordanian air force pilot Moaz al-Kasasba.

"Sajda Rishawi has not left the country and any talk of her release is untrue," Judeh said on Twitter, denying media reports that Rishawi had already arrived in Iraq in exchange for the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who is currently held by ISIL.

The Jordanian government said earlier Wednesday that it was ready to release female Iraqi prisoner Sajda Rishawi in exchange for al-Kasasba, who was captured by the ISIL over one month ago.

The announcement comes after ISIL militants gave Jordanian authorities 24 hours to release Rishawi, who faces a death sentence in Jordan.

If Rishawi was not released, the group warned, it would execute al-Kasasba and Goto.

Rishawi, who hails from Iraq, was sentenced to death in Jordan in 2005 for alleged involvement in a spate of deadly bombings that targeted three hotels in Amman.

Last December, the ISIL declared it had downed a Jordanian military aircraft in the Syrian city of Raqqa and captured the pilot.

ISIL-held Raqqa has been repeatedly targeted by an international, U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition.

Last summer, the militant group captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, killing thousands in the process. It later declared the captured territories to be part of an "Islamic caliphate."

The U.S.-led coalition has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL targets in both Iraq and Syria since the group captured the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in June of last year.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency