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Islamic State May Be About To Secure Release Of Failed Suicide Bomber In Exchange For Hostages

28/01/2015 12:38 GMT | Updated 28/01/2015 12:59 GMT

The Jordanian government has said it is ready to agree to Islamic State's demand that it frees a failed suicide bomber in exchange for two hostages the militants have threatened to execute imminently.

The terror group threatened to kill Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and Jordanian fighter pilot Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh later today after demanding the prisoner exchange, the first time it has publicly requested such a deal.

Now, Jordanian state-media agency Petra, is reporting the country is prepared to hand over Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death for her involvement in a 2005 terrorist attack on a hotel that killed scores of people.

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Sajida al-Rishawi, pictured in 2006

The would-be suicide bomber's explosives-belt failed to detonate and she was arrested after fleeing the scene.

With hours to go until the deadline, Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed al-Momani said his country would release her in exchange for the safe return of Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh.

His statement, as reported by Petra, did not mention Mr Goto. "Jordan is ready to release the Iraqi prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, if the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, is released unharmed," he said.

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Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto

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A photo of Jordanian pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh previously released by IS in captivity

IS's demand for a prisoner exchange set a 24-hour deadline before it would kill both hostages.

The chairman of Jordan's foreign affairs committee, Bassam Al-Manasseer, has been quoted as saying that Jordan and Japan would not negotiate directly with IS and would not free al-Rishawi for only Mr Goto.

Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, 26, has been held by the militants since his F-16 crashed near the group's de facto capital of Raqqa, in Syria, in December.

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Mr Goto, a freelance journalist, was seized in October in Syria, apparently while trying to rescue Haruna Yukawa, 42, who was captured by the militants last summer.

IS released a video over the weekend that, they claimed, showed the killing of Yukawa. Japanese officials have indicated they are treating it as authentic.