Jordan Releases Video Showing U.S. Soldiers Surrendering Before Deadly 2016 Shooting

Three U.S. special forces stationed in Jordan were killed when their convoy came under fire at the entrance to the al-Jafr base

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Jordan releases security footage of shooting of 3 U.S. troops
Jordan releases security footage of shooting of 3 U.S. troops, July 24, 2017Credit: Screen grab

Jordan's military released security camera footage Monday of a shooting in which a Jordanian soldier killed three U.S. military trainers at an air base in the kingdom.

The video had previously been shown to the families of the U.S. Army Green Berets by U.S. law enforcement but had not been made public until Monday.

The soldiers were killed Nov. 4 when their convoy came under fire at the entrance to the al-Jafr base in southern Jordan.

A Jordanian military court sentenced the soldier, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha, to life in prison with hard labor last week.

The defendant had said he opened fire because he feared the base was coming under attack and that he had acted in line with open-fire regulations.

Jordan's military said in a statement Monday that the soldier "had acted against orders and military instructions and had not acted in self-defense."

The statement was posted by Hala Akhbar, a news site linked to the military that also released the security camera footage.

Jordan initially said the Americans triggered the shooting by disobeying entry rules, a claim that was later withdrawn.

The victims of the shooting were Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Missouri; Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona; and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas.

The 6-minute-long video was in line with descriptions previously given by the relatives of the American soldiers who had watched the footage.

It shows the U.S. convoy coming under fire at the entrance to the base. The footage has no sound, but puffs of white-gray smoke indicate gunfire.

At one point, two figures, U.S. forces, are seen getting out of their vehicles to take cover. They raise their hands and wave from behind a barrier, but the shooting continues. Another figure, according to past descriptions the Jordanian, chases them and keeps shooting.

According to the descriptions of the relatives, Lewellen and McEnroe, who were in the first vehicle waiting at the gate, were the first to be hit by gunfire.

Moriarty and another soldier jumped out of the next two cars to take cover and returned fire with their pistols. They yelled that they were friendly forces, the relatives said.

The defendant kept shooting, they said. He was seriously wounded in the exchange.

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