Jordan ready to do ‘everything’ to save life of IS-held pilot
AMMAN - Jordan vowed Sunday to do all it could to save an airman held by the Islamic State group after the jihadists killed a Japanese journalist they had been holding.
Safi Kassasbeh, the father of pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, denounced the killing of Kenji Goto and said the Jordanian "government is responsible" for his son's fate.
"Maaz is our son and a son of the military, and the government is responsible for him," said Safi Kassasbeh, who in previous days had urged authorities to seek his release "at any price".
Government spokesman Mohammed al-Momeni pledged that Jordan would "do everything it can to save the life and secure the release" of Kassasbeh, who was captured by IS after his plane crashed in Syria in December.
IS has been demanding the release of a convicted Iraqi jihadist on death row in Jordan in exchange for Kassasbeh's life, a demand the government has expressed readiness to accept provided it is given proof he is still alive.
"All state organisations have been mobilised to secure the proof of life that we require so that he can be freed and returned to his home," Momeni told the official Petra news agency.
He condemned the jihadists' murder of Goto after days of intensive efforts through intermediaries to save him.
"We spared no effort, in coordination with the Japanese government, to save his life," Momeni said.
Goto was the second Japanese hostage in a week to be executed by the jihadists in what they have said is punishment for Tokyo's pledge of $200 million (175 million euro) in aid to countries affected by their bloody seizure of swathes of Iraq and Syria last year.
Last week, IS claimed responsibility for the beheading of Haruna Yukawa after the expiry of a 72-hour ultimatum.
The jihadist IS wants freed -- Sajida al-Rishawi -- was sentenced to death for her role in the 2005 bombings of three Amman hotels by Al-Qaeda in Iraq which killed 60 people.
Her husband was one of the three suicide bombers and the court found that she would have been a fourth but for the failure of her detonator.
Safi Kassasbeh said his family "feels with (Goto's) family and his country".
Jordan is among a number of Arab and Western countries that have joined a US-led air campaign against IS.
After the F-16 jet of First Lieutenant Maaz al-Kassasbeh crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria, his father had urged IS to consider him a "guest" and cause him no harm.