The Israeli military censors on Sunday cleared for publication the identity of the Israeli security guard who last week shot and killed two Jordanian nationals near the Israeli Embassy in Amman while being attacked by one of them with a screwdriver.
Officials confirmed the man’s identity as Ziv Moyal, 28, hours after Jordanian media published a photo of Moyal’s diplomatic ID card, with his picture and name.
On Friday the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that a preliminary probe was launched into the July 23 attack. The announcement came after Jordan announced that Israeli embassy staff, who came back to Israel on Monday following the violent incident, would not be allowed to return to Amman until an investigation was opened.
Jordan has been pressing Israel to probe the incident that has caused a major diplomatic dispute between the two countries. The two nations were already navigating tense relations surrounding violence at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, administered by a Jordanian-controlled trust.
On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians held a protest near the Israeli embassy in Amman over the incident, calling on the government to shut it down and cancel the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that Israel was “launching a probe process into the incident, in accordance with the appropriate legal proceedings in such matters.”
“The [Israeli] state prosecutor [Shai Nitzan], in coordination with the attorney general [Avichai Mandelblit], has instructed all the relevant bodies to submit all related materials they possess,” read the statement.
“In the framework of Israel-Jordan relations, Israel will update Jordan on the developments and findings of the proceedings,” the ministry said.
Jordan had allowed the guard and other embassy staff to return to Israel following the incident, but on Thursday charged the security officer with murder in absentia.
Mandelblit told ministers during a security cabinet meeting following the incident 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.
Jordanian authorities had initially sought to interrogate Moyal 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.
Israel, which questioned the guard on Thursday, said he fired in self-defense, and that the attack on him was nationalistically motivated.
Also Thursday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II strongly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for warmly receiving Moyal at his office.
The guard was welcomed home and greeted as a hero by Netanyahu, who embraced him and said: “You acted well, calmly and we also had an obligation to get you out.”
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.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the security guard shot dead a Jordanian worker, Mohammed Jawawdeh, 17, who had come to an apartment to install furniture and had stabbed him in the back with a screwdriver.
A second Jordanian, the landlord of the apartment, was also killed — apparently by accident. He was buried on Thursday in Madaba, southwest of the capital.
A Jordanian inquiry had confirmed the sequence of events.
The attack at the embassy occurred over a week after Israel installed security measures at the Temple Mount in the wake of a July 14 terror attack in which terrorists used weapons smuggled into the holy site to kill two Israeli officers near the compound.
The security measures at the sensitive site were met with near-daily clashes and protests by Palestinians and a boycott of the compound by Muslim worshipers. Tensions between Israel and Jordan also soared. Jordan is a custodian of the site, the third-holiest in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Israel has since rolled back all the security measures.
Agencies contributed to this report.