Jordan 'ready' to swap jihadist bomber for pilot held by ISIL

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters, AP
Jordan 'ready' to swap jihadist bomber for pilot held by ISIL

Jordan has said it is willing to hand over an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber – if a Jordanian pilot captured by the so-called Islamic State is freed, according to state television.

A statement read out on air quoted the government as saying that if Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh was freed, it would release the female jihadist.

Several hundred people including the pilot’s relatives protested in Amman on Tuesday urging the authorities to meet the extremist group’s demands.

The 26-year-old pilot, who comes from an influential family, became the first prisoner from the US-led coalition to be taken by ISIL when his plane came down in Syria.

The Jordanian statement made no mention of the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who was captured after travelling to Syria last October.

ISIL has threatened to execute both him and the Jordanian pilot imminently unless Amman frees the woman convicted over a bombing that killed nearly 60 people.

In Japan demonstrators gathered outside the prime minister’s residence calling for the reporter’s release.

Shinzo Abe has condemned a video purported to come from ISIL containing the threats as “despicable”, saying Tokyo will not give in to terrorism.