Jordan ready to release Iraqi female militant, says government spokesman

Relatives of Jordanian air force pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who crashed in Syria with a F-16 last month, carry posters with his portrait and a slogan reading in Arabic, "we are all Maaz", during a protest near the Prime Minister office in Amman late on
Relatives of Jordanian air force pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who crashed in Syria with a F-16 last month, carry posters with his portrait and a slogan reading in Arabic, "we are all Maaz", during a protest near the Prime Minister office in Amman late on Jan 27, 2015, demanding the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi female suicide bomber on death row in Jordan. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi stands inside a military court at Juwaida prison in Amman in this April 24, 2006. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan said on Wednesday it was willing to hand over an Iraqi woman detained for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman if a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State was released.

"Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh was released and his life spared," Mohammad al-Momani, a government spokesman, was quoted on state television as saying.

He did not make any reference to Japanese hostage Kenji Goto who said in a video on Tuesday that Islamic State had given Jordan 24 hours to release the Iraqi militant or the pilot would be killed.

Momani said Jordan's priority was to secure the release of the pilot, who hails from a Jordanian tribe that forms the backbone of support for the Hashemite monarchy.

Several hundred people, including relatives of the pilot, gathered in front of the office of Jordan's prime minister late on Tuesday urging authorities to meet the demands of Islamic State and release al-Rishawi.

Kasaesbeh was captured after his jet crashed in northeastern Syria in December during a bombing mission against the militants.

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