TOKYO, January 25 -- The Islamic State (ISIS) has reportedly demanded the release of an Iraqi woman detained in Jordan in exchange for a Japanese-national they have held captive.
In a video recording posted online on Saturday, Kenji Goto, a freelance Japanese journalist abducted while reporting on Syria's civil war last year, spoke of ISIS's demand for a prisoner exchange to guarantee his release.
"They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister Sajida al-Rishawi. It is simple. You give them Sajida and I will be released," Goto says in the video. The authenticity of the video was not to verify.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after a cabinet meeting late on Saturday that saving Goto's life was a top priority. "The government of Japan will, in its entirety, do its utmost in order to have him released," Abe said.
Al-Rishawi, who is referred to as an "imprisoned sister" in the recording, has been held by Jordanian authorities since 2005, and has not been seen publicly in around nine years.
She was 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.
Al-Rishawi, who is now belived to be in her early-40s, was arrested four days after the attack, in which her husband, Ali Hussein al-Shammari, and two other Iraqis, blew themselves up.
In a television confession after her arrest, she said that she too had tried but failed to activate her explosives at a wedding reception. Sixty people died in the attack.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor to ISIS, claimed responsibility for the bombings. "A group of our best lions launched a new attack on some dens... After casing the targets, some hotels were chosen which the Jordanian despot turned into a backyard for the enemies of the faith," a statement on a website usually used by the group said.
ISIS has released several videos of executions of captured enemy fighters, activists and journalists. The armed group has taken vast parts of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in territory under its control in June.
Since then it has fought the Syrian and Iraqi governments, other armed groups and Kurdish forces.
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