Although the Jordanian government worked feverishly for the release of Moaz al-Kassasbeh, a military pilot captured by the Islamic State militant group, photographs were released by the group showing he was confined to a metal cage and burned alive. Jordanian officials had been working for weeks for his release, going as far as offering to free a Syrian woman captured in exchange.
Al-Kassasbeh’s jet had crashed last December in Syria. After ejecting from the F-16 during airstrikes led by the United States, he was captured. Earlier last month, messages from ISIS were released in which a masked man said that unless Saijida al-Rishawi, the female jihadist held in Jordon was released, the pilot would be killed.
Since that time, ongoing efforts have been made to make the exchange possible but following the recent beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, things began to unravel. In that killing, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was angered and vowed that his country would take their revenge.
Although the five photographs showing a man in a black cage being set on fire could not immediately be confirmed as being that of the Jordanian pilot, it has become all to evident that ISIS carried out their threat.
Prior to his death, a spokesperson for Jordon said the kingdom would do everything possible to save al-Kassasbeh’s life. It was then that discussions started about having the captured jihadist woman released. Jordanian officials also condemned the killing of the Goto, saying they were vying for his release as well and that no effort would spared in working with Japan to bring the two hostages home safely.
Prior to Goto’s execution, another Japanese captive, Haruna Yukawa was beheaded after a 72-period of ultimatum for $200 million had passed. Jordon believed they had negotiating power for the pilot by agreeing to let al-Rishawi go.
In 2005, she and her husband bombed a wedding reception, killing 60 people and injuring hundreds more. Her husband was killed in the bombing while al-Rishawi was convicted and sentenced to death in Jordon.