(AA) – Jordanian authorities have executed two Iraqi al-Qaeda prisoners, including Sajida al-Rishawi, in the early hours of Wednesday, moments after the killing of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said that al-Rishawi and her compatriot Ziyad al-Karbouli – both had been on the death row for years after being convicted of terror charges – were hanged early Wednesday.
The move came shortly after an online video showed Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasba burnt alive by ISIL militant.
The ISIL had repeatedly demanded the release of al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death in 2006 following a spate of deadly hotel bombings in Amman, in exchange for preserving the life of the Jordanian pilot.
Al-Karbouli, a top aide to former al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was also hanged in line with a 2007 death sentence after he was found guilty of terror charges, the release said.
“The death executions were carried out against the [two] criminals in the attendance of the officials concerned and in line with the law,” the statement carried by state-run Petra news agency said.
Sources said earlier that Jordanian authorities had moved several al-Qaeda prisoners to Swaqa Prison, an execution facility in southern Amman, shortly after the Jordanian government confirmed al-Kasasba’s death.
Al-Kasasba was captured by ISIL militants after his fighter plane crashed in the Syrian city of Raqqa last December.
Jordanian authorities had tried to secure the pilot’s release, but ISIL initially made his release conditional on the release of al-Rishawi from Jordanian jail.
Last summer, the ISIL captured large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, killing thousands in the process. It later declared the captured territories to be part of a self-styled “Islamic caliphate.”
Since the group captured the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in June of last year, a U.S.-led coalition, which includes Jordan, has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL targets in both Iraq and Syria.