Jordan condemns ‘barbaric’ killing of knife-wielding Jerusalem attacker

Muslim Brotherhood calls on Amman to close Israeli Embassy over ‘execution’ of man police say tried to stab officers

Israeli security forces near the body of a Jordanian attacker at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on September 16, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces near the body of a Jordanian attacker at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem on September 16, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry on Saturday sharply condemned the killing of a Jordanian national who attempted to stab Border Police officers outside Jerusalem’s Old City the previous day.

In a statement, the ministry said killing Saeed Amro was “a barbaric act.”

Security officials said Amro, 28, was shot and killed Friday as he approached a group of policemen with a drawn knife. Upon searching Amro’s body, police found three knives on his person.

But Jordanian authorities expressed doubt that Amro had assaulted the Israelis at all, saying he was merely a tourist.

A spokeswoman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry denounced “the barbaric act of the army of the Israeli occupation, whose premeditated shooting of the Jordanian Saeed Amro… killed him on the spot.”

“Amro was part of a group of tourists who had entered the Palestinian territories on Thursday to visit Jerusalem,” Sabah Refai said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Jordan said Amro’s death was an “execution” and called for Israel’s embassy in Amman to be closed.

Many Palestinians hold Jordanian passports, and Israeli police said on Friday they were checking if Amro also had Palestinian papers. But a Jordanian official source told AFP that he was not Palestinian.

Amro’s attack on Friday was but one of five that took place in the West Bank and Jerusalem in the past two days.

Senior Palestinian officials have also condemned the killing of attackers over the weekend as “executions,” though they said nothing of the attacks themselves.

On Friday a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the killing by Israeli security forces of two attackers in separate incidents in Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba earlier in the day “a crime and an execution.” Nabil Abu Rudeineh called on the international community to defend the Palestinian people.

Speaking of Friday’s attacks, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, condemned Israel for the “extra-judicial killings” of attackers.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi (photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli/Flash90)
PLO official Hanan Ashrawi (Ahmad Gharabli/Flash90)

“Israel is flagrantly employing a systematic and willful policy of summary executions against the Palestinian people; such provocative acts are in direct violation of international law and conventions,” Ashrawi said. “We call on the international community to engage rapidly and effectively before it is too late.”

Israel has previously come under criticism for the way in which it responds to attacks on its civilians and soldiers. In March, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat submitted a request to the United Nations asking it to formally investigate what he called Israeli extrajudicial “executions” of Palestinian attackers. The request came days after an IDF soldier was filmed shooting and killing a wounded assailant in Hebron.

Israel has in turn repeatedly accused Abbas of failing to condemn the wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and security forces that erupted late last year, and says his PA hierarchy presides over incitement to terror and violence against Israel.

AFP and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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