Jordanian Who Killed 7 Israeli Girls Goes on Hunger Strike, Demands Release

Ahmed Daqamseh, who shot a group of schoolgirls in 1997, says his father demands release from prison after Jordanian-Palestinian judge killed by IDF.

Ahmed Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier imprisoned for shooting a group of Israeli school girls on a field trip in Naharayim in 1997, killing seven of them, began a hunger strike on Friday, demanding his release.

"My father started a hunger strike on Friday. He said he demands the government release him from jail after the Israelis killed Jordanian judge Raed Zeiter," Ahmad Daqamseh's son Seif told AFP. "He is also refusing to take medicine for his high blood pressure and diabetes."

Last year 110 of the 120 members of Jordan's parliament signed a petition calling for Daqamseh's early release. 

On Friday, thousands of Jordanian protesters called on the kingdom to put an end to its peace treaty with Israel and for the release of Daqamseh in the capital Amman, following the shooting of a Jordanian-Palestinian judge by Israeli soldiers at the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan earlier this week.

The Israel Defense Forces said that a soldier, a member of the IDF Engineering Corps, opened fire on the judge after he tried to attack him and steal his rifle. The border crossing was closed after the incident.

About half of Jordan's population is Palestinian and public anger against Israel is common. However, Israel and Jordan, a key Middle East ally of the U.S., signed a peace deal in 1994 and maintain strong security ties.

In February, Jordan's parliament voted unanimously to expel the Israeli ambassador and recall its own envoy after Israeli lawmakers debated a proposal to take over a Jerusalem holy site administered by Jordanians. However, the vote was not binding and the Cabinet has yet to take any action on the request.