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Fate of IS-Held Hostages Unclear As Proposed Prisoner Swap Deadline Passes

© AP PhotoKenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian army pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh
Kenji Goto holding what appears to be a photo of Jordanian army pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh - Sputnik International
The fates of the Japanese and Jordanian citizens being held by the Islamic State militant group are unknown on Friday after the passing of the proposed prisoner swap deadline on Thursday night.

Мembers of the Islamic State group with the captured Jordanian pilot, center, wearing a white shirt, in Raqqa, Syria - Sputnik International
IS Sets Deadline Till Sunset for Prisoners Swap via Audio Recording
MOSCOW, January 30 (Sputnik) — The fates of a Jordanian army pilot and a Japanese journalist held by the Islamic State remain unknown on Friday as the deadline for the proposed prisoner swap passed Thursday night without any word from the jihadist group.

"Government institutions are working around the clock on the case of pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh," Jordanian military spokesman Mamouh al-Ameri said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "We want to see a proof of life of the Jordanian pilot and then we can talk about the exchange between Sajida al-Rishawi and the Jordanian pilot, the spokesman added.

"There is nothing I can tell you," Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters, repeating his government's "strong trust" in the Jordanian government's possible assistance in saving freelance journalist Kenji Goto. The Jordanian government has made no mention of Mr. Goto in a proposed prisoner swap, exchanging the Jordanian pilot for an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist.

An internet audio appeal posted by IS-affiliated jihadists stated that Lieutenant al-Kaseasbeh would be executed if Sajida al-Rishawi, an al-Qaida terrorist being held in Jordan since 2005 for a suicide terror attack operation in Amman was not delivered to the Turkish border by sunset on Thursday. AP could not verify the authenticity of the recording.

Protesters holding placards chant Save Kenji during a demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's Official residence in Tokyo - Sputnik International
Rally Demanding Talks With IS Over Japanese Hostage Release Held in Tokyo
Late on Thursday, Goto's wife had revealed that she had been communicating with jihadis believed to be her husband's captors, noting that she had received a final demand on Thursday. "I beg the Jordanian and Japanese governments to understand that the fates of both men are in their hands," she noted.

Al-Kaseasbeh's family says it has received no assurances that the pilot is still alive. Al-Kaseasbeh was captured in December after his F-16 crashed in IS-controlled territory in Syria. Last week, the captors of the two Japanese hostages are reported to have killed one of them, 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, although this has yet to be confirmed.

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