ILNA: An audio message purportedly from a Japanese journalist held by ISIL militants said a Jordanian air force pilot also captured by the group would be killed unless a woman jailed in Jordan was released by sunset on Thursday.
The message appeared to postpone a previous deadline set on Tuesday in which the journalist, Kenji Goto, said he would be killed within ۲۴ hours if the Iraqi would - be suicide bomber in prison in Jordan was not freed.
The latest audio recording, which could not be verified by Reuters, was posted on YouTube early on Thursday. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that chances were high it was Goto’s voice in the recording.
" I am Kenji Goto. This is a voice message I’ve been told to send to you. If Sajida al - Rishawi is not ready for exchange for my life at the Turkish border by Thursday sunset ۲۹th of January Mosul(Iraq) time, the Jordanian pilot Muath al - Kasaesbeh will be killed immediately, " the voice in the recording says.
Jordan said on Wednesday it had received no assurance that al - Kasaesbeh was safe and that it would go ahead with a proposed prisoner swap only if he was freed.
The audio message implied that the Jordanian pilot would not be part of an exchange deal, indicating any swap would be between Goto, a veteran war reporter, and al - Rishawi.
That leaves Jordan in a difficult position. Any swap that left out the pilot would be deeply unpopular after officials insisted he was their priority, and could leave Amman subject to further demands from the militants.
But refusing the insurgents’ ultimatum could heighten domestic opposition to Jordan’s unpopular role in the U. S. - led military campaign against ISIL.
Protests have already erupted in Karak, hometown of the pilot, who is from an important Jordanian tribe that forms the backbone of support for the Hashemite monarchy.
There was no immediate comment from the Jordanian government, but a security official said authorities were trying to verify the authenticity of the recording and were coordinating with their Japanese counterparts.
On Tuesday, a video was released purporting to show Goto saying he had ۲۴ hours to live unless Jordan released al - Rishawi, on death row for her role in a ۲۰۰۵ suicide bomb attack that killed ۶۰ people in the capital Amman.