Security guard grilled in Israel over Amman embassy stabbing
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Security guard grilled in Israel over Amman embassy stabbing

Official reportedly says he was stabbed after attacker learned he was Israeli, rejects claim incident sparked by dispute over furniture

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017,meets with Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them. (Haim Zach/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 25, 2017,meets with Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and security guard 'Ziv,' who shot dead two Jordanians as he was being stabbed by one of them. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Israeli authorities on Thursday questioned a security guard from Israel’s embassy in Jordan who shot dead two Jordanians at the Amman compound on Sunday as he was being attacked by one of them with a screwdriver.

During the questioning, Ziv, whose last name has not been cleared for publication, said 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh stabbed him after learning that he was Israeli, Channel 10 reported.

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.

The police, Shin Bet security agency, and the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic security wing are in charge of the investigation, which is being personally led by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, according to the Ynet news site.

Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in the residential Rabiyeh neighborhood of the capital Amman on July 23, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in the residential Rabiyeh neighborhood of the capital Amman on July 23, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

During security cabinet meetings following Sunday evening’s 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 Wednesday.

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

Jordanian authorities had initially sought to interrogate the guard over the incident, while Israel refused to hand him over, citing diplomatic immunity.

Only after US intervention did Amman relent, allowing the guard and the rest of the embassy staff to leave Jordan. However, Jordan said the Israeli diplomats will not be allowed to return unless the guard is put on trial, Jordanian media reported Thursday.

On Thursday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II strongly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for warmly receiving Ziv at his office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan on July 27, 2010. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan, on July 27, 2010 (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

The king called for the security guard to be tried and accused Netanyahu of “political showmanship” and of using “this crime to score personal political points,” after the Israeli leader posted photos of himself embracing the guard.

The monarch threatened the affair would have a negative affect on bilateral ties between Amman and Jerusalem.

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,’ 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)

“The Israeli prime minister is required to honor his responsibilities and take the necessary legal measures to ensure that the killer is tried and justice is served, rather than exhibiting political showmanship in dealing with this crime to score personal political points,” Abdullah said at a National Policies Council meeting at Al Husseiniya Palace, west of Amman.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu hosted the security guard and Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Einat Shlain, in his Jerusalem office.

“I am happy to see you here and that things ended the way they did. You acted well, calmly, and we also had an obligation to get you out,” Netanyahu said.

Photos of the meeting, including some of Netanyahu hugging the security guard, were widely publicized by the Prime Minister’s Office, including via his Arabic language social media accounts.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

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