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Jordan seeks to question Israel guard over embassy shooting

DIPLOMATIC ROW: Tel Aviv says it is examining Amman’s request to quiz the guard

AMMAN: Jordan said on Monday it was looking to question an Israeli security guard who killed two Jordanians at the Amman embassy compound, as Israel insisted he had diplomatic immunity. A Jordanian government source, who declined to be named, said Israel was “still examining the request” to quiz the guard involved in Sunday’s incident, which according to Israeli officials saw a Jordanian attack the guard with a screwdriver.

The security guard shot dead the Jordanian attacker, while a second Jordanian there at the time was also killed — apparently by accident.

A Jordanian security source named the first dead man as 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh and the second as Bashar Hamarneh, a doctor who was in the residential quarter of the embassy at the time of the incident.

He said the Israeli is the deputy director of security at the embassy.

Israel’s foreign ministry said Jawawdeh, who had gone to the compound to install furniture, stabbed the security guard in the back with a screwdriver.

It said as a foreign diplomat the guard was immune from investigation under the Vienna Convention but the Jordanian government source said security forces were seeking Israeli permission to question him.

“Israel is still examining the request,” the source said. “There is no need for a diplomatic escalation.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they would seek to find an agreement, vowing to bring the guard home as soon as possible.

“We are holding contacts with Jordanian security and government officials in order to bring the incident to a close ASAP,” he said in a statement.

“I assured the security officer that we will see to bringing him back to Israel, we have experience in this.”

Jawawdeh’s father Zakariya said he wanted “the truth,” urging authorities to view CCTV footage from security cameras at the embassy.

“My son has no interest in politics. He does not follow any extremist ideology,” he said.

The government source said an initial investigation indicated that Jawawdeh and the security guard “fell out over some dispute which led to a stabbing and a shooting”.

Israel and Jordan are bound by a 1994 peace treaty. But tensions have been high in recent days after Israel put in place security measures at the highly sensitive Al-Haram Al-Sharif mosque compound in east Jerusalem, known to Jews as Temple Mount.

Israel installed metal detectors at entrances to the site following an attack nearby on July 14 that killed two of its policemen.

Palestinians view the move as Israel asserting further control over the compound, home to Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock, and considered Islam’s third holiest site.

Jordan is the official custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Israeli measures at the flashpoint site sparked angry demonstrations in Amman last Friday, when thousands took to the streets in a protest called by movements and leftist parties. — AFP

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