Jordan vows to save the life of ISIL-held pilot

Country pledges to 'do everything it can' to save Maaz al-Kassasbeh, after Japanese hostage is beheaded by armed group.

    Kassasbeh was captured by ISIL after his F-16 jet crashed in Syria's Raqqa region [Al Jazeera]
    Kassasbeh was captured by ISIL after his F-16 jet crashed in Syria's Raqqa region [Al Jazeera]

    Jordan has vowed to do all it can to save the life of a pilot held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after the group released a video purportedly showing the killing of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

    Jordan's King Abdullah II said in a statement on Sunday that every effort was being made "to seek the release of the hero pilot Maaz Kassasbeh", who was captured by ISIL in December.

    Government spokesman, Mohammed al-Momeni denounced Goto's murder saying Jordan spared "no effort, in coordination with the Japanese government, to save his life".

    Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, called Goto's murder a "cowardly, criminal act" saying he would "never forgive the terrorists" and would "make them atone for their crimes".

    "I am extremely angry about these heinous and despicable terrorist acts," Abe said. "We will cooperate with the international community to make them atone for their crimes."

    Goto was the second Japanese hostage in a week to be executed by the armed group in what they said was punishment for Tokyo's pledge of $200m in aid to countries affected by ISIL.

    Last week, the group claimed responsibility for the beheading of Haruna Yukawa after the expiry of a 72-hour ultimatum.

    ISIL has been demanding the release of Sajida al-Rishawi in exchange for Kassasbeh's life.

    Rishawi has been held by Jordanian authorities since 2005, after being arrested and later sentenced to death "for conspiracy to carry out terror acts" after a triple bomb attack on the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman, the Jordanian capital, in November 2005.

    Sixty people died in the attack.

    The Jordanian government has expressed readiness to swap her for the pilot if it is given proof he is still alive.

    The 26-year-old First Lieutenant was taken hostage in ISIL's stronghold of Raqqa after his F-16 jet crashed. ISIL members have claimed to have shot down Kassasbeh's plane with a heat-seeking missile.

    In an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday, Kassasbeh's mother urged ISIL to release her son.

    "From one Muslim addressing another... I appeal to you tell us about Moaz's wellbeing and I ask you to be kind in how you treat him and to release him. I beg you, I ask you to show him mercy," Om Jawad al-Kassasbeh said.

    Jordan is among a number of Arab and western countries that have joined a US-led air campaign against ISIL.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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