New deadline looms in ISIS crisis

2015-01-29 14:40
Shoichi Yukawa, the father of Karuna Yukawa, speak to reporters in a Tokyo suburb. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto, AFP)

Shoichi Yukawa, the father of Karuna Yukawa, speak to reporters in a Tokyo suburb. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto, AFP)

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Tokyo - A sunset deadline was approaching in the Middle East on Thursday for Jordan to release an Iraqi prisoner or face the death of a captured Jordanian air force pilot, according to the latest threat purportedly issued by the Islamic State group.

The audio message, read in English by a voice the Japanese government said was likely that of another hostage, Kenji Goto, was released online late on Wednesday after Jordan offered to hand over the al-Qaeda-linked would-be suicide bomber to the Islamic State group in exchange for the Jordanian air force pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kaseasbeh.

The recording says Jordan must present Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman convicted of involvement in deadly Amman hotel bombings in 2005, at the Turkish border by sunset on Thursday, in exchange for Goto's life or the pilot would be killed. It wasn't clear what Goto's fate would be if the woman wasn't returned.

The message said the deadline was sundown in Mosul, Iraq, the largest city held by the militant group.

In Tokyo, government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday the government was in close communications with the Jordan government. He said Japan was doing its utmost to free Goto, working with nations in the region, including Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

Efforts to free al-Kaseasbeh and Goto gained urgency after a purported online ultimatum claimed on Tuesday that ISIS would kill both hostages within 24 hours if Jordan did not free al-Rishawi.

Read more on:    isis  |  japan  |  jordan  |  syria  |  iraq  |  security  |  abductions

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