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Jordan blocking Israel envoy’s return over shooting

Jordan is barring the Israeli ambassador to Amman from returning to the Arab country until legal action is taken against an Israeli embassy guard who recently killed two Jordanian citizens, says a Jordanian official.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Jordanian government official told the Associated Press (AP) on Friday that Jordan had called on Tel Aviv to “hold on” when asked to allow the Israeli Ambassador Einat Schlein to return to Amman.

He said Jordan wanted due legal action to be taken against the Israeli embassy guard first.

On July 23, the guard, Ziv Moyal, shot and killed two Jordanians, alleging that one of them, 17-year-old Mohammed al-Jawawdeh, had attempted to attack him with a screwdriver. The other victim was apparently shot by stray bullets fired by the Israeli guard.

Policemen are seen near the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, on July 23, 2017, following a deadly shooting incident. (Photo by Reuters)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has claimed that the guard acted in self-defense.

However, Jordanian police say the security officer shot Jawawdeh — who worked for a furniture company and was delivering an order — after they got into a brawl.

Moyal, along with the rest of the embassy staff, returned to Israel after the incident under the protection of diplomatic immunity. Jordan had sought to bar the guard from leaving.

The guard received a warm welcome from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised him for what he termed acting “calmly.”

The Jordanian government official who spoke to AP said Netanyahu’s behavior “is damaging to bilateral relations.”

Netanyahu’s move angered Jordanians, who took to the streets of Amman to demand that the government shut down the Israeli mission and scrap the unpopular 1994 peace treaty with Tel Aviv. Jordan’s King Abdullah II urged Israel to put Moyal on trial, complaining that Netanyahu’s behavior had been “provocative on all fronts and enrages us, destabilizes security, and fuels extremism.”

Jordan is one of the only two Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with the Israeli regime.

Israel says it has launched an investigation into the shooting incident.

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