Jordan’s Public Security Directorate said late Monday it had completed an investigation into the deadly shooting near the Israeli embassy in Amman on Sunday in a residential building used by embassy staff, and concluded that an Israeli security guard was attacked by a Jordanian youth.
The security agency said the incident began when two Jordanians arrived at the building to set up bedroom furniture. One of the two was the son of the owner the furniture store, later identified as 17-year-old Mohammed al-Jawawdeh.
In what it implied was a domestic dispute rather than terrorism, it said a verbal argument erupted between the son of the owner and the embassy employee, named in Israel as Ziv, because of a delay in delivering the furniture.
The argument took place in the presence of the landlord and a doorman, the agency said, after which al-Jawawdeh attacked the guard with a screwdriver.
“The son of the owner attacked the Israeli diplomat and injured him,” the statement said. It said the Israeli fired toward the teen, injuring him, and also struck the landlord who was standing nearby.
The two Jordanians died of their injuries at a hospital.
The landlord was identified as Dr. Bashar Kamel Hamarneh, an orthopaedic surgeon, according to the Jordan Times.
Earlier Monday, al-Jawawdeh’s father, Zakariah, had called for an investigation, saying his son deserved justice. The family had denied he attacked the guard and claimed he was killed in cold blood.
Israel had insisted that Ziv opened fire in self-defense.
Ziv and other embassy staff, including the ambassador, Einat Schlein, returned from Jordan through the Allenby Crossing on Monday night, ending a diplomatic stand-off between Israel and Jordan. Ties were already strained amid mounting tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and Israel’s security measures, including metal detectors, in place since a July 14 terror attacks in which three assailants emerged from the site and shot two Israeli police officers to death, having smuggled their weapons onto the compound before-hand.
The new Israeli arrangements set off violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police and prompted denunciations by Muslim leaders, including Jordan’s.
On Friday, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets of Amman after the weekly prayer to denounce the Israeli measures at the compound, the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam.
Jordan is the official custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. Under a status quo agreement since Israel’s victory in the Six Day War in 1967 when it captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt, a Jordanian-controlled Islamic trust administers the site while Israel is responsible for security. Non-Muslims can access the site but are forbidden to pray there.
Israel’s security measures following the attack at the Temple Mount were seen by some in the Muslim world as an attempt to take over the site, a charge Israel has repeatedly denied.
Jordan had initially sought to question the Israeli officer and said he could only leave after an investigation, while Israel said he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
The crisis was resolved after a phone call late Monday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Media reports had said the deal could see the embassy security guard released in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors.
Israel early on Tuesday moved to dismantle the metal detectors after Israeli ministers voted to replace the security checks with more sophisticated means.
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