Israel, Jordan identify victims of embassy attack

AMMAN - A diplomatic row is escalating between Jordan and Israel following an overnight shooting at the Israeli embassy that resulted in the death of two Jordanians and the injury of an Israeli security officer, security sources said on Monday.

Jordan's government has banned the security guard from leaving the country until an investigation is completed, but according to CNN, the Israeli foreign ministry claimed the security officer has diplomatic immunity "in accordance with the Vienna convention".

Israeli media on Tuesday showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving a hero's welcome to the unidentified embassy staffer who killed a 16-year-old boy and a surgeon. Jordanian government officials were not immediately available for comment.

U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, is heading to Jordan for talks about the Mideast peace process after meetings in Israel, a senior administration official said on Monday.

A diplomatic standoff developed after Israel refused to turn over the embassy staff for questioning, citing the diplomatic immunity bestowed on them under worldwide law. Jordan is the Muslim custodian of the site.

The ministry said the incident began when two Jordanian workmen arrived at the residential building to replace furniture.

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Jordan has called for the removal of the metal detectors and thousands of Jordanians have protested against the Israeli move.

According to the security directorate, a Jordanian carpenter attacked and wounded an Israeli security guard following an argument on Sunday. The statement said the second Jordanian who died was the property owner.

Earlier in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire at a group of Israeli schoolgirls on a field trip to a joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort along the border. He said talks were under way whether to evacuate the embassy staff, given the tensions in Jordan.

The incident is bound to further inflame Jordanian public opinion against Israel and complicate efforts to defuse tensions over a contested Jerusalem shrine.

In September 2011, seven months after the popular uprising in Egypt, hundreds of protesters against Egypt's ruling generals, broke into the Israeli embassy in Cairo tearing down large sections of a security wall.

  • Megan Austin