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Israel returns to Jordan 2 who planned attack, says they’ll be dealt with there

Shin Bet says the men, arrested while carrying knives, were planning stabbing attack near Temple Mount, but were repatriated as part of ‘diplomatic reciprocity’

A view of the minefields outside the Qaser al-Yahud Baptism Site in the Judean Desert on the border with the Jordan River on the Eastern Orthodox holiday of Epiphany on January 18, 2019. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
A view of the minefields outside the Qaser al-Yahud Baptism Site in the Judean Desert on the border with the Jordan River on the Eastern Orthodox holiday of Epiphany on January 18, 2019. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

Jordan’s foreign ministry said that two Jordanians arrested in Israel last month, in what Israel said was a plot to attack Israelis, were repatriated on Tuesday.

“The Israeli authorities have decided to withdraw the charges against Jordanian citizens Mussab Daajah and Khalifa Onouz and end their arrest,” the Jordanian ministry said in an initial statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said a few hours later that it had “received” the two Jordanian nationals “after they were released by Israel today.”

A statement from Israel’s internal security agency said the two were caught in northern Israel on May 16 with knives and ropes.

“From their investigation it emerged that they planned on reaching Jerusalem and carrying out a stabbing attack against soldiers in the area of Al-Aqsa mosque compound,” the Shin Bet said in a statement, referring to the Temple Mount site.

Israel and Hamas — the terrorist group that rules the Palestinian enclave of Gaza — waged a war between May 10 and May 21 in the wake of tensions and clashes in Jerusalem focused on the Temple Mount.

Israel’s decision not to prosecute the Jordanian suspects and to release them instead was “part of the security and diplomatic reciprocity between Israel and Jordan,” the Shin Bet said.

It added that “the two were transferred over to the care of security authorities in Jordan, where they will be dealt with by the law.”

Jordan, which in 1994 became the second Arab state to normalize ties with Israel, had on May 25 summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest the detentions.

Several demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians and demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador have taken place in recent weeks in Jordan.

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