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Jordan 'Working Around the Clock' After ISIS Hostage Deadline Passes

Officials said they were "working round the clock" to free ISIS prisoners Jordanian pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.
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TOKYO — Officials negotiating to free two hostages held by ISIS said they were "working round the clock" Friday after the militants' deadline for a prisoner swap passed without any word of their fate.

The Islamist group purportedly said it would kill Jordanian pilot Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh if a would-be suicide bomber on death row was not released by sunset Thursday. This ultimatum came after an earlier video in which ISIS said it would kill Japanese journalist Kenji Goto if the bomber was not freed.

Jordan said Friday it was "working around the clock on the case of pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh." On Thursday, Jordan said it was still holding Sajida al-Rishawi, the Iraqi woman ISIS demanded be released. She was jailed for an attempted suicide attack in Amman in 2005.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday his government was working closely with Jordan to secure Goto's release. "We are gathering and analyzing information while asking for cooperation from Jordan and other countries," he told a parliamentary panel.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also revealed during a press briefing that Abe had requested the cooperation of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. "We are doing all that needs to be done," he added.

Goto's wife, Rinko Goto, released an impassioned 11th-hour plea for her husband's life on Thursday.


- Arata Yamamoto and Alexander Smith

The Associated Press contributed to this report.