Jordanian Judge Ran Toward Soldier Screaming 'Allah Hu Akbar,' Israeli Probe Reveals

Preliminary IDF investigation says Raed Zueter attacked soldier with iron rod; Palestinian eyewitness says man did not try to steal soldier's weapon.

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A preliminary investigation into Monday's killing of a Jordanian judge at the Allenby crossing suggests the man ran toward an Israeli soldier screaming "Allah hu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is great") and tried to steal his weapon, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The army announced Tuesday morning the results of the preliminary investigation into the death of Raed Zueter, based on dozens of eye witnesses who were questioned by the Shin Bet security service and Israeli Police.

According to the IDF, soldiers at the crossing said that when they felt their lives were in danger, they shot toward the lower part of the Jordanian man's body. After he was hit in the leg, Zueter attacked the soldier with an iron rod, at which point they shot again, causing his death, the army said, adding that it would continue investigating the incident.

A testimony of a Palestinian witness, published Tuesday in Jordanian media, provided a partially conflicting account of the events.

According to the witness, Mohammed Zayad, passengers on a bus from Jordan were asked to disembark for a security check on the Israeli side of the Allenby crossing, after which three passengers were held for questioning, including Zayad and Zueter. After a second round of questioning, Zayad said, they were permitted to return to the bus.

Zayad claimed that a soldier pushed Zueter, which angered him and led him to push back. The two began arguing and then the soldier fired shots. The first bullet hit the ground, according to Zayad, and when the fight continued, the soldier then shot three bullets, killing Zueter. Zayad claimed that Zueter never tried to steal the soldier's weapon.

The security cameras at the crossing were not active during the incident, contrary to the rules at the site. It is not yet clear whether the malfunction was isolated to Monday, or if the cameras had been deactivated for some time.

Officials in Jordan told Haaretz the government is under pressure to conduct an in-depth investigation and that the issue would be discussed in a plenary session in parliament.

Zueter's funeral is scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon in Nablus. His father, Ala Idan Zueter, an attorney, told reporters in Amman that he had been told conflicting versions of what happened. He had been with his son on Monday morning, he said, and there had been no indication that Raed Zueter intended to go to the crossing or the West Bank.

The Zueter family is one of the oldest in Nablus and considered to be among the Palestinian elite.

The Jordanian government sent a sharply-worded statement to Israel Monday following the killing. The border terminal is operated jointly by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. It is the main border crossing for Palestinians from the West Bank traveling to neighboring Jordan and beyond, and it is a crossing point for goods between Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

Killing of Jordanian judge at Allenby crossingCredit: Israel Airports Authority Spokesperson

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