AMMAN, Jordan – With the deadline passed, the families of two ISIS hostages have received no word on the fate of their loved ones the group threatened to kill earlier this week.
The Islamic State group threatened to kill Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, a Jordanian pilot captured in late Dec., by Thursday unless Jordan released a female al-Qaida prisoner convicted and sentenced to death for her involvement in a 2005 terrorist attack on hotels in Amman, Jordan that killed 60 people.
Jordanian officials had initially agreed to release Sajida al-Rishawi from death row amid growing domestic pressure, but said it cannot release her without proof Lt. al-Kaseasbeh is still alive.
Meanwhile, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Yasuhide Nakayama said late Friday that efforts to free Japanese journalist Kenji Goto are “in a state of deadlock.”
“The deadline has passed, and it is a reality that several hours have passed since then, so we are doing our utmost to gain more information,” he said.
Even though the fate of the 26-year-old airman is believed to be linked to that of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, in their recorded audio ultimatum the terror group did not say what would happen to Goto if al-Rishawi is not released.
“We are waiting,” Jawad al-Kaseasbeh, the brother of the pilot said Saturday. “We received nothing new, neither from the government nor from informal sources.”
Al-Kaseasbeh’s plane went down over an Islamic State-controlled area of northeastern Syria in late Dec., making him the first foreign pilot to be captured by the group since a U.S.-led military coalition began carrying out limited airstrikes to supposedly “degrade and ultimately destroy” the extremists in September.
Jordan is part of the coalition.
Goto was captured by ISIS in October, after he traveled to Syria to try to win the release of Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old widower and defense contractor who reportedly has already been executed.
The hostage situation began last week after militants threatened to kill Goto and Yukawa in 72 hours unless Japan paid $200 million.
Jordan and Japan are reportedly conducting indirect negotiations with the terrorists through Iraqi tribal leaders.