Jordan wants more details from Israel over killing of ‘martyr’ citizen
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Jordan wants more details from Israel over killing of ‘martyr’ citizen

Request comes after Jerusalem releases video showing Jordanian brandishing knife in attack on police, before being shot

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

The Jordanian government on Monday formally requested that the Israeli ambassador in Amman provide full details regarding the death in Jerusalem on Friday of a Jordanian national, who was killed during an attack on Israeli police.

“The Jordanian government is urgently following up on the details of the murder of the Jordanian martyr Saeed Amro in occupied Jerusalem,” Jordan’s official Petra News agency reported.

Acting Jordanian Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Momani requested that Israeli ambassador Einat Schlein provide all information regarding the investigation into Amro’s death, so that “appropriate” action could be taken.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed that Schlein was invited to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry “as part of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, including an update on the details of the event.”

The Israeli statement said there has been “intensive” contact between the two foreign ministries and all “relevant bodies” on both sides since the incident occurred on Friday

On Sunday, the Foreign Ministry sent video footage to Amman that is said to prove the Jordanian national tried to stab Border Police officers in Jerusalem before he was shot dead. Amman had sharply criticized the killing as a “barbaric act.”

Israeli forensic policemen gather around the body of a Jordanian assailant who was shot dead following a reported attack at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem on September 16, 2016.(AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX)
Israeli forensic policemen gather around the body of a Jordanian assailant who was shot dead following a reported attack at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem on September 16, 2016.(AFP/Thomas Coex)

The body of the would-be attacker was handed over to Amman on Sunday for burial.

Israeli security officials said Amro, 28, was shot and killed Friday as he approached a group of policemen with knives in each hand at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City. Upon inspection, police found another knife on Amro’s person.

Footage from a security camera that was released Sunday seemed to corroborate the Israeli police account, clearly showing Amro brandishing the blades and moving towards the security forces before being shot.

According to police, Amro also shouted “Allahu akbar” — “God is great” in Arabic — as he approached the officers.

He had arrived in Israel the day before and stayed at a hostel in the Old City. On Friday morning he attended prayer services on the Temple Mount.

According to police, Amro purchased the knives at a shop in the Muslim Quarter market upon leaving the holy site on Friday and hid them in his clothes.

Jordanian authorities over the weekend 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.

Also over the weekend, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Jordan called Amro’s death an “execution” and demanded the closure of Israel’s embassy in Amman.

Amro’s attack on Friday was just one of eight that took place in the West Bank and Jerusalem in the past four days.

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

Times of Israel staff, AFP and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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