Jordan Concerned by anti-Israel Anger Following Embassy Shooting

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Jordanians carry a model of the Dome of the Rock mosque during a demonstration, called for by the Islamic Action Front, in Amman following Friday prayers on July 21, 2017,
Jordanians carry a model of the Dome of the Rock mosque during a demonstration, called for by the Islamic Action Front, in Amman following Friday prayers on July 21, 2017,Credit: KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP

Sunday's incident in which an Israeli embassy guard killed two Jordanians after being stabbed in Amman has inflamed public sentiment in the Jordanian capital to an extent that is beginning to concern Jordan's security apparatus.

>> Analysis: Israel and Jordan want to resolve crisis, but the Jordanian public complicates matters >>

The guard was stabbed by a Jordanian carpenter of Palestinian descent 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, Mohammed al-Juoda, 17. His landlord, who was present during the incident, was also wounded and later died of his wounds. 

On Sunday evening, al-Juoda's family uploaded a video clip from a city square in Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat ("Middle East Square"), showing youngsters blocking the road and hailing al-Juoda as a martyr. Jordanian security reportedly dispersed the crowd. Calls on social media against the Israeli mission in Amman are also gaining momentum.

Al-Juoda's father called his son a martyr and says he expects the guard to stand trial.

Speaking to Arab and Jordanian media, Zakaria al-Juoda called on Jordan's government and king take action in the case.

"My son took two bullets in the chest. This is cold-blooded murder," al-Juoda said. "I demand that the government and foreign office take action under the law, because my son was a Jordanian citizen for all intends and purposes."

The Jordanian national security administration and media are stressing the fact that though the incident was an unfortunate one, it was a personal dispute that ended tragically, and not one based on national or religious motives. Despite this, the Jordanian authorities, under pressure from both the public and from the families of the dead, are insistent on investigating the affair thoroughly.

According to one of the relatives of the deceased, when al-Juoda went to work it was not known that the client was Israeli. In an Arabic interview posted to Facebook he said, "If we knew that they were Israelis, he would not have gone there. An argument ensued between them and then the Israeli pulled out a gun and shot him. It's impossible to accept such a thing and I hope our voice will reach everyone."

The relative explained that al-Juoda was a student who was doing the work as a summer job. He had apparently gone to the apartment in order to collect money with which to purchase furniture.

Another family member called for the expulsion of Israel's ambassador to Jordan, and for the trying of the shooter: "We have full faith in the Jordanian justice system, the Hashemite leadership and its leader."

Three years ago, Israeli soldiers shot Raed Zeiter, 38, a Jordanian judge of Palestinian origin, at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan. Zeiter allegedly tried to snatch a weapon and was shot, but eyewitnesses contradicted that report. The incident ended in a joint investigation. The guard was not tried.

Sentiment in Amman was already running high because of the events at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. On Friday, thousands took to the streets to protest the Israelis placing metal detectors at the entries to Temple Mount, and cameras in the mosque courtyard.

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