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Report: Efforts to release IS hostages deadlocked

By Amy R. Connolly

AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Japan's attempts to negotiate with Islamic State militants for the release of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot are "deadlocked," Japan's deputy foreign minister said.

Yasuhide Nakayama, who is leading the country's emergency response team, said there has been no progress in the negotiations to secure the release of Kenji Goto and Muath al-Kaseasbeh in exchange for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a female suicide bomber who attacked a hotel in Jordan in 2005.

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"It has become deadlocked," Nakayama said. "Staying vigilant, we will continue analyzing and examining information as the government is making concerted efforts together."

Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the situation is unpredictable, but the government will continue the efforts.

Japan and Jordan have been working together for the release of the hostages. Jordan said it will release al-Rishawi, who is on death row for her role in an al-Qaida bombing in 2005, in exchange for al-Kaseasbeh after the terror group proves he is still alive.

"We are waiting," al-Kaseasbeh's brother Jawdat said. "We received nothing new, neither from the government nor from informal sources."

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