Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Leading members of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) seek to exchange Jordanian pilot Lt. Muaz Kasasbeh ــwho has been taken hostage by the groupــ with two Iraqi detainees, a woman and a man, sentenced to death in Jordan after being convicted of involvement in suicide bombings, Jordanian media sources reported on Friday.
On Wednesday, militants of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) shot down a Jordanian warplane of the U.S.-led coalition over the city of Raqqa, in northeastern Syria, and arrested its pilot, pro-IS media sources reported. According to sources, the IS group arrested the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muaz Kasasbeh, when he jumped out of the plane after being hit by a thermal rocket fired by IS fighters during a sortie over the city of Raqqa.
Exchange of prisoners
The sources revealed on Friday that the radical group aims to exchange the pilot with Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, 44, held in the Jordanian prisons and sentenced to death, following her participation in the Radisson and Hyatt Amman Hotels’ bombings on Nov. 9, 2005 in Jordan, but survived when her belt did not explode, while her husband, Ali Hussein Ali al-Shammari, was killed during the attack.
According to the sources, the man who the IS group seeks to negotiate about is named Ziad Karbouli, who was also sentenced to death by the Jordanian State Security Court in June of 2008 after being convicted of belonging to al-Qaeda and the killing of the Jordanian driver Khaled Desouki in 2005.
According to observers, negotiations with the IS group may involve Jordan and Jordanian jihadists who have links to the IS to begin indirect negotiations. Jordan may also hold contacts with regional powers to facilitate communication with militants in Syria.
In an interview with the network of Sky News Arabic, the Jordanian parliament member Mahmoud Kharabsheh said: “Jordan formed a crisis cell immediately after the pilot’s arrest to follow up on the issue,” pointing out that “all options are open for Jordan to respond to the detention of the pilot.”
The former Minister of Information, Nabil Sharif, hoped his country would pursue indirect negotiations with the radical group, ruling out a military solution for freeing the hostage.
“Jordan will not resort to military solutions before they exhaust all political ones, because any military action could endanger the life of Kasasbeh.”
Mohammed al-Shalabi, aka Abu Sayyaf, a leader of the Jihadist Salafist movement in Jordan, released a statement on Thursday addressing the family of the pilot Kasasbeh, saying: “The issue is up to the leaders of the Islamic State, and they have given their word and demonstrated their intention to exchange the hostage with Sajida al-Rishawi, who was sent by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the founding father of the Islamic State) and with Ziad Karbouli, a member of the Islamic State. We believe it would be wise to release both detainees because the Islamic State is apparently determined to take action in this regard.”
Noteworthy, the Jordanian government has not yet issued any official statement on how to deal with the case of the pilot, nor on how the warplane was shot down.
Reporting by: Sarbaz Yusuf
Source: ARA News
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