Itongadol.- The Israeli brother of a terror victim whose murderer was slated to go free as part of a prisoner swap between Jordan and the Islamic State has reportedly pleaded with the Hashemite Kingdom to keep the female al-Qaeda operative behind bars.
Brother of Jordanian jihadist’s Israeli victim opposes her release to IS
Jordan’s government renewed an offer Sunday to trade Sajida al-Rishawi for a Jordanian pilot in captivity. Al-Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber, faces death by hanging in Jordan for her role in a 2005 hotel attack that killed 60 people.
Ibrahim Abu-Garuf of Umm El-Fahm sent a letter to King Abdullah II imploring him “not to give in to terror, or make a deal with an organization of murderers,” the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported on Monday.
Ibrahim’s brother Hussam, who was on a business trip in Jordan, was killed in a bombing at the Hyatt hotel in Amman in November 2005. Al-Rishawi was involved in a string of deadly attacks that day, and was poised to blow herself up at a hotel, but the explosives failed to detonate. The would-be suicide bomber then fled to the home of her relatives, and was later caught by Jordanian authorities and sentenced to death by hanging for her involvement.
“I certainly am not authorized to give advice to King Abdullah,” Abu-Garuf told Yedioth. “I also know that in every [prisoner] swap deal, as happened with the Gilad Shalit deal with Hamas, there are those opposed, and interested parties.
“And yet, I turn to him in the name of my dead brother, and in the name of my family: Don’t let the despicable Sajida al-Rishawi go free. Don’t forget, she was trained to murder innocents and volunteered to wear a suicide belt,” he added.
Abu Garuf warned the king that the jihadist would likely carry out attacks — possibly against Jordan — if freed.
“If you show signs of weakness,” he wrote in his letter to the king, “the Islamic State may set up a last-minute bad surprise.”
Hussam’s widow and three children moved into an apartment next door after he was killed, Abu Garuf said. “We were close, like twin brothers,” he said.
“Hussam really loved Jordan,” Abu Garuf added. “Every time he traveled there, he would tell me, ‘I feel really safe here,’ and look what happened to him.”
The Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, was seized after his F-16 crashed near the Islamic State group’s de facto capital, Raqqa, Syria, in December.
Government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani told The Associated Press Monday that “we are still ready to hand over” prisoner Rishawi. She has close family ties to the Iraq branch of al-Qaeda, a precursor of the Islamic State group.