Police to open preliminary probe into Amman embassy incident
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Police to open preliminary probe into Amman embassy incident

At behest of AG, State Prosecutor's Office to look into security guard's fatal shooting of 2 Jordanians after being stabbed

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with security guard Ziv Moyal (R) and Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein (L), at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 25, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with security guard Ziv Moyal (R) and Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein (L), at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on July 25, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prosecutors on Friday instructed police to open a probe into the recent incident at Israel’s embassy compound in Jordan that sparked a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Amman.

In a statement, the Justice Ministry said that the order from the State Prosecutor’s Office came at the behest of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

“The investigation will be carried out with the assistance of the State Prosecutor’s Office, and later, in light of [the] findings that come up, the possibility of turning to the Jordanian authorities to request the transfer of additional materials will be weighed,” the Justice Ministry said.

Channel 2 reported Thursday that the police was preparing to send a team to Jordan to gather materials.

The July 23 incident, in which Israeli security guard Ziv Moyal shot to death two Jordanians at the embassy compound after being stabbed by one of them with a screwdriver, sparked a nadir in ties between Israel and Jordan, with Jordan briefly refusing to allow Moyal to return to Israel or extend diplomatic immunity to him, threatening a larger crisis over the issue.

Moyal and the rest of the embassy staff were eventually allowed to return to Israel a day later, following a diplomatic push that included a phone call between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, US intervention and a visit by the head of the Shin Bet security agency Nadav Argaman to Amman.

Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in Amman following a security incident at the compound on July 23, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in Amman following a security incident at the compound on July 23, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Last week, Moyal was questioned by Israeli authorities over the affair, during which he said 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh stabbed him after learning that he was Israeli, Channel 10 reported at the time.

Jawawdeh, the son of a furniture store owner, was in an embassy residence installing a bedroom set at the time of the incident.

The landlord, Bashar Hamarneh, was also hit by a bullet and later died of his wounds.

The security guard rejected Jordanian claims that the incident was sparked by a dispute over furniture, saying he was attacked for “nationalistic” reasons.

During security cabinet meetings following the incident, Mandelblit told ministers that as a signatory to the Vienna Convention, Israel is required to investigate suspects upon their return from a host country that provided diplomatic immunity for charges against them, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported last week.

While Mandelblit emphasized that the inquiry is entirely routine, Moyal will likely be investigated on suspicion of manslaughter, that report said.

In addition to the Israeli investigation, Jordan has also reportedly charged Moyal with murder.

Despite the return of the embassy staff to Israel, ties have continued to be frosty between the two countries after Moyal was embraced by Netanyahu at his office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017 meets with security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman on July 23. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017 meets with security guard Ziv Moyal, who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman on July 23. (Haim Zach/GPO)

In response to the warm reception for Moyal, King Abdullah said that Jordan was “infuriated” by what he called “unacceptable and provocative behavior” by Netanyahu in connection with the deadly shooting.

The incident also occurred during a period of already strained ties between Jerusalem and Amman over Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount following the July 14 terror attack at the Jerusalem holy site, in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers with weapons smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jordanian is the custodian of the Temple Mount and administers the site through the Jerusalem-based Waqf.

The security measures were later removed hours after the embassy staff was allowed to return to Israel.

On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians protested near against Israel outside the embassy in Amman, where they called for the embassy to be shut down and for a natural gas deal with Israel to be nixed.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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