A hardcore Al Qaeda terrorist imprisoned in Jordan who agreed to negotiate with ISIS for the freedom of an air force pilot called the terror group liars for bargaining even after killing their hostage.
“They lied to me and even took an oath. It turned out later that they had already killed the pilot.”
- Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi
The terrorist group, also known as Islamic State, offered to trade Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured Dec. 24 in Syria, for Sajidah Al-Rishawi, a failed female suicide bomber detained in Jordan since 2005. But when talks broke down, Amman enlisted Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi – once a spiritual mentor of Al Qaeda in Iraq founder Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi – to get the deal done, according to the Jordanian news channel Ro’ya.
“[ISIS] used Sajidah’s name as a bargaining chip and claimed they wanted her released but they were not serious about it,” Al-Maqdisi told the station after learning Al-Kaseasbeh had been burned to death just a week after his capture. “They lied to me and even took an oath. It turned out later that they had already killed the pilot.”
Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi has spent most of the last two decades in Jordanian prisons, and was doing time for “prompting terrorist ideologies” when he was pressed into service.
Al-Maqdisi, a Salafi jihadi, said he connected with “influential” members of Islamic State, including leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his appointed negotiator Abi-Mohammad Al-Musale. He said they ensured him that Al-Kasseasbeh was still alive and how much they valued Sajidah-Al Rishawi.
He added that he even sent a letter to Al-Baghdadi asking him to personally intervene, and telling the self-professed Islamic State caliph Al-Rishawi’s life was ISIS’ responsibility.
“Sheikh Abu Bakr, you are the top leader directly responsible for this, and you’re held responsible for our sister [Al-Rishawi] and the interest in releasing her from her captives is something no two wise men would defer,” he wrote in a letter to Al-Baghdadi, according to the channel.
Al-Maqdisi said he negotiated with ISIS for a month, yet never received video evidence proving the pilot was still alive.
Al-Kasseabeh was eventually shown in a video posted by ISIS earlier this month standing in a cage wearing an orange jumpsuit before being burned to death.
“The prophet Muhammad considered immolation to be reprehensible,” Al-Maqdisi said. “ He said, ‘Only the lord of fire torments with fire.’ What did they accomplish by burning [the pilot] did they think the war & the bombardments would stop?”
Jordanian authorities released Al-Maqdisi two days after the video was posted. Al-Rishawi was executed along with another convicted terrorist the day after the video of the pilot's murder was posted. Jordan's air force has since been pounding Islamic State strongholds daily.