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Sajida Rishawi resurfaces as bargaining chip 10 years after Amman bombings

By JT - Jan 28,2015 - Last updated at Jan 28,2015

Sajida Rishawi

AMMAN — Sajida Rishwai, the Iraqi woman who was convicted for her involvement in the 2005 Amman hotel bombings, is back in the headlines 10 years later with the so-called Islamic State group demanding her release to free Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.

The group says it will kill Goto and Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh if Rishawi is not released.

On November 9, 2005 Rishawi, her husband, Ali Hassan Shumari, and two other suicide bombers launched a series of bombings that targeted three hotels across the capital. 

The attacks, claimed at the time by Al Qaeda in Iraq, left 60 people dead and around 90 injured. 

Rishawi, who is now in her 40s, was arrested in Salt on November 13, 2005 after a relative of hers found an explosive belt under her bed and alerted authorities. 

In a confession that aired on Jordan Television upon her arrest, Rishawi said she and her husband walked into a wedding at the Radisson SAS Hotel, where he blew himself up and she failed to do so due to a malfunction in the detonator. 

Twenty-seven people died as a result.

She retracted the confession during her trial in 2006 at the State Security Court, pleading not guilty and saying that she was rushed into wearing the belt and had no intention of killing anyone. 

However, experts who examined the belt found that it did not detonate due to a technical failure.

The Iraqi would-be suicide bomber was being held at the Jweideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre, on death row. 

The government said on Wednesday it is willing to release her in return for Kasasbeh.

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