Jordan's new justice minister continued to inflame tensions with Israel, whom he called a "terrorist state that will be destroyed" in an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab Al-Yom on Wednesday.
Minister Hussein Mjali was appointed last week in a government shakeup following protests inspired by the Egyptian uprising. He drew condemnation in Israel after he joined protester calling for the release of Ahmed Deqamseh, a terrorist serving time in Jordan for killing seven Israeli school children in 1997.
Mjali, who is seen as close to the Muslim opposition, served as the defense lawyer for Deqamseh, who was a soldier when he killed the children who were on an outing in Naharayim, on the border between Israel and Jordan.
"Israel is a terrorist state," Mjali said in the interview, adding that that explained Israel's position over freeing Daqamseh.
Israel conveyed sharp protest earlier in the week, when Mjali called for Daqamseh to be released. The Foreign Ministry summoned the temporary Jordanian ambassador on Tuesday to demand that Jordan issue a public statement condemning all calls to release Deqamesh. The ministry also insisted that Jordan clarify that Daqamesh will continue to serve out his 25-year sentence in a Jordanian prison.
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