Sajida al-Rishawi: What’s So Special About The Female Terrorist That ISIS Wants To Bring Home?

As the Japanese government refuses to pay a hefty $200 million ransom in order to save ISIS’ hostages, the Islamic extremist group has shifted their offer. Instead of currency, the group is now asking for the release of failed terrorist bomber Sajida al-Rishawi from Jordanian prison. That comes with the threat of killing the second Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto, if their demands are not met, according to a video that appears to show Kenji pleading with Japanese authorities to take the deal to save his life in exchange for Sajida’s freedom.

“You along with my family, friend and my colleagues in the independent press must continue to pressure our government. Their demand is easier, they are being fair. They no longer want money. So, you don’t need to worry about funding terrorists. They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister, Sajida al-Rishawi. It is simple. You give them Sajida, and I will be released.”

You can watch Goto’s emotionally charged appeal to accept the offer for al-Rishawi below.

In 2005, Sajida was taken into custody by the Jordanian authorities after her bomb failed to detonate in a terrorist attack coordinated with her husband, Hussein Ali al-Shamari. As the couple descended upon the Radisson Hotel in downtown Amman, Jordan, they knew that several other associates would be carrying out similar attacks that day, but al-Rishawi did not know that hers would be unsuccessful. Although her husband killed 38 people at a wedding party taking place at the hotel, Sajida’s attempt at suicide bombing was thwarted by faulty wiring, she calmly confessed on Jordanian TV at the time, according to Sky News.

“In Jordan we rented a flat. He had two explosive belts. He put one on me and he wore one himself and showed me how to use it. He said we are attacking hotels in Jordan. He [my husband] took one corner and I took another. There was a wedding in the hotel. There were women and children… My husband executed the attack. I tried to detonate and it failed. I left. People started running and I started running with them.”


Recently, the Jordanian government has ended a nearly 10-year ban on capital punishment, which once again opens up the possibility that al-Rishawi could face death for her part in the terrorist plot. Though why she is important enough to negotiate a hostage over is unclear, retired Lt. Col. James Reese, a former U.S. Delta Force commander, told CNN that it likely has to do with a link between current day ISIS and the Iraqi al-Qaeda unit Sajida was a part of. Current ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a lieutenant of Jordan bombing orchestrator and al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Al-Rishawi is also, says Reese, the sister of one Zarqawi’s former “right-hand men.”

“There’s a link back to this [Sajida al-Rishawi]. This is just another way to help them (ISIS) bring these people back and help with their propaganda.”

[Image via YouTube]