The Jordanian government said it is ready to agree a prisoner swap with the Islamic State (Isis), linked to the fate of a Japanese journalist held hostage by the terror group.
The jihadist militants had issued a 24 hour deadline - set to run out within hours - demanding that Jordan releases Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman facing the death penalty for the 2005 bombings that killed 60 people at hotels in the Hashemite kingdom, in exchange for Japanese reporter Kenji Goto and Jordan\'s air force pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh.
\"Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh was released and his life spared,\" Mohammad al-Momani, a government spokesperson, was quoted on state television as saying, Reuters reported.
Al-Momani made no mention of Goto.
Earlier today, Al-Jazeera quoted Japan\'s deputy foreign minister as saying that the prisoner swap deal had been reached and Goto was to be freed \"within hours\". The Japanese embassy later denied the comment.
Goto, an experienced freelance war correspondent, appeared kneeling in the desert in an orange jumpsuit alongside Haruna Yukawa, a 45-year-old aspiring military contractor, in a video released by IS last week.
The terror group initially demanded a $200m (£132m) ransom for the two men\'s lives.
A still photo of Goto holding what appeared to be a picture of Yukawa\'s beheaded body was issued a few days later, in a video used by IS to change its demand for the life of the journalist, proposing a prisoner swap.
A third clip showing once again a still image of the reporter, this time holding a picture of captive Jordanian pilot fighter pilot al-Kaseasbeh, with a voiceover issuing a 24 hour negotiation deadline, was released on 27 January.
\"I\'ve been told this is my last message, and I\'ve also been told that the barrier obstructing my freedom is just the Jordanian government delaying the handover of Sajida [al-Rishawi],\" says a voiceover that appears to be that of Goto.
\"Time is running very short. It is me for her. What seems so difficult to understand. She\'s been a prisoner for a decade and I\'ve only been a prisoner for a few months,\" he continues, telling the Japanese government to put pressure on Jordan.
Japan\'s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed outrage at the footage and said his government was \"seeking help from the Jordanian government in securing the early release of Mr Goto\".