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Jordan still awaiting proof if hostage pilot held by IS is safe

Jordan’s military said on Friday that it was still awaiting proof that a warplane pilot threatened with execution by the Islamic State group is safe.

IS had vowed to kill F-16 airman Maaz al-Kassasbeh by sunset on Thursday unless Amman handed over an Iraqi female jihadist in return for captured Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. Jordan has demanded evidence that the pilot who crashed in Syria on December 24 is still alive before freeing would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi who is on death row.

“Jordan has so far received no information that proves the pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh is safe and sound,” military spokesman Mamdoh al-Ameri told AFP. Jordan has offered to free Rishawi, who was convicted for her part in triple-hotel bombings in Amman in 2005 that killed 60 people, if IS releases the pilot. The government has been under heavy pressure at home and from Japan -- a major aid donor -- to save Kassasbeh as well as Goto.

Kassasbeh’s father Safi has begged authorities to save his son while many Jordanians have taken to social media to say the pilot’s life is more important than that of “terrorist” Rishawi.
Agencies

Agencies

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