Diplomatic Crisis With Jordan: Embassy Guard Who Killed Assailant Prevented From Returning to Israel

Israeli Embassy guard shoots and kills a Jordanian teen who tried to stab him, and another man; Israel decides to pull out its diplomats but halts the evacuation when Jordan insists on interrogating him

Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in the residential Rabiyeh neighbourhood of the capital Amman following an incident on July 23, 2017.
Jordanian security forces stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in the residential Rabiyeh neighbourhood of the capital Amman following an incident on July 23, 2017. KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP

Update: Israel-Jordan Embassy Crisis Ends: Diplomats Evacuated, Cross Border Into Israel

An unusual security incident in which a Jordanian civilian tried to attack an Israeli embassy guard in Jordan on Sunday and was shot dead has become a diplomatic crisis. Jordan is barring the Israeli guard from leaving the country.

Q&A: Haaretz analysts answer readers' questions on Temple Mount and Jordan crises

>> Analysis: Israel and Jordan Want to Resolve Crisis, but the Jordanian Public Complicates Matters 

On Sunday evening, following an emergency meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, it was decided to immediately evacuate all the staff of the Israeli embassy in Amman for fear that the incident would lead to riots and attempts to attack the embassy. However, the Jordanian authorities have refused to allow the security guard to leave the country and have demanded an investigation.

Israel is currently refusing to allow an investigation of the security guard at this stage, claiming that the guard has diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. The dispute over a possible investigation has led to the delay in the evacuation of the Israeli diplomatic team in Amman.

The Israeli security cabinet will convene at 2 P.M. to discuss the incident, as well as the crisis over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 

The guard at the Israeli Embassy in Amman was stabbed on Sunday by a Jordanian carpenter who was installing furniture in his apartment near the embassy compound. The Israeli security officer, who was lightly wounded in the incident, shot and killed the attacker. His landlord, who was also present during the incident, was also wounded during the incident and later died of his wounds.

Mohammed al-Juoda

The assailant has been identified as Mohammed al-Juoda, 17. According to an Israeli security source, the attacker, who is of Palestinian origin, was motivated by the Temple Mount crisis. His father told Jordanian media that he considers his son a martyr. Protesters took to the streets of Amman on Sunday night and shouted slogans in support of the teen, before being dispersed by police. 

The unusual incident began when a team of carpenters came to install furniture in one of the apartments where the Israeli security guards live, near the Amman embassy compound. 

The Jordanian landlord and two other Palestinian workers were also in the apartment at the time of the incident. One of the workers crept behind the officer and began to stab him with a screwdriver - at which point the officer jumped back, cocked his weapon and fired. He was lightly wounded in the jump.

The assailant died from wounds sustained during the shooting. The landlord was also wounded during the incident, later succumbing to his wounds.

The guard arrived at the embassy immediately following the incident. A Foreign Ministry official noted that he is an accredited diplomat, immune from interrogation and arrest under the Vienna Convention.

A large contingent of Jordanian security forces arrived following the shooting, blocked all access routes to the area and launched an investigation. The background to the incident is still not clear, and the Jordanian General Security Administration issued a statement saying the circumstances surrounding the incident were still being investigated. The statement did not say that a Jordanian carpenter had attacked an Israeli.

Minutes after the incident, the Amman embassy and Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem declared a state of emergency. “The last thing we needed was a rerun of the attack on the embassy in Cairo,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official, referring to the September 2011 storming of the embassy in Egypt by hundreds of protesters.

Netanyahu spoke on the phone with Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and the deputy chief of staff following the incident. The Foreign Ministry and security forces are working with the Jordanian government in various channels to bring the affair to a close.

Diplomatic crisis with Jordan: Embassy guard who killed a local prevented from returning to Israel. Security forces stand outside the embassy in the residential Rabiyeh neighbourhood, July 23, 2017.
KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP