Militants in Iraq tonight released a video of a Jordanian hostage, giving Jordan three days to cut ties with the Baghdad government and free a woman would-be suicide bomber involved in attacks in Amman.
The video, part of which was aired on the Al-Arabiya satellite channel, showed Mahmoud Suleiman Saidat, a driver for the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, who was snatched on Tuesday by gunmen.
Saidat read a statement while sitting on the floor, surrounded by three armed men holding automatic weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
A banner hanging in the background identified Saidat’s kidnappers as the previously unknown group, the Hawk Brigades.
“I ask the Jordanian government to withdraw its diplomatic mission from Iraq and not to deal with this illegitimate government (in Baghdad),” Saidat said after identifying himself.
He also called for Jordan to release Sajida al-Rishawi, a would-be suicide bomber whose explosives belt failed to go off in attacks on Amman hotels on November 9 that killed 60 people.
Al-Arabiya said the statement in the video gave the Jordanian government three days to meet the demand.
Saidat, a Jordanian citizen, was kidnapped by more than a dozen masked men as he drove to work at the embassy in Baghdad.
Afterwards, Jordan said it was considering moving its embassy into the Green Zone, the heavily fortified Baghdad neighbourhood where the US and British missions are located.
In Amman, the Jordanian government immediately rejected the threat.
“Jordan will not succumb to any blackmail or pressure whatever the source is,” Nasser Judeh, the government spokesman, said.
He said the kidnappers should release the driver immediately.