AMMAN: A Jordanian policeman shot dead two US instructors, a South African and a fellow Jordanian at a police training centre yesterday before being gunned down, the government spokesman said. Mohammed Momani said the shooter also wounded two American instructors and three Jordanians. The assailant was shot dead by colleagues at the centre in Al-Muwaqqar, 30 kilometers east of Amman, Momani, who is also information minister, said in statements carried by state news agency Petra.
Authorities opened an investigation to determine the motive for the shooting, he added. The three foreign instructors killed were on contract with Jordanian police, Momani said. A source close to the family of the shooter identified him as police captain Anwar Abu Zeid. “He has no ties with any terrorist organization like Daesh,” the source said, using an Arabic acronym for the jihadist Islamic State group.
“The family is in shock and security forces are questioning them about the incident,” the source, who declined to be named said. The US embassy in Amman said in a statement that the mission is “in contact with the appropriate Jordanian authorities” concerning the shooting at the Jordanian International Police Training Centre (JIPTC). The embassy also posted on its website a message for US citizens reporting a “security incident” at the JIPTC and urging individuals “to please avoid that area for the time being”. “Please monitor the news for further developments and maintain security awareness,” the message said.
Anniversary of hotel bombings
The attack coincides with the 10th anniversary of suicide bombings in Amman hotels that cost 60 lives and wounded dozens more. Yesterday, King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania attended a memorial for the victims of the November 9, 2005 attacks. The bombings, which were claimed by Al-Qaeda, had shocked one of the Middle East’s most stable countries and a key US ally. Earlier this year Jordan executed an Iraqi woman whose husband was one of the bombers. Sajida Al-Rishawi was arrested after the attacks and confessed that she was also wearing an explosives belt but had been unable to activate it. She was tried and sentenced to death. She was executed on February 4 along with another Iraqi jihadist who had been on death row in revenge for the killing by IS of fighter pilot Maaz Al-Kassasbeh. IS captured the fighter last December and later burned him alive.
The pilot’s murder sparked international condemnation and was described by a senior Jordanian official as a “turning point” in the kingdom’s fight against IS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition battling IS, which has seized swathes of territory in its neighbors Syria and Iraq. A key US ally, the tiny desert kingdom has trained tens of thousands of Iraqi, Palestinian and Afghani police officers and announced earlier this year plans to train former Libyan rebels at the police academy. The centre was set up initially after the US-led invasion of Iraq to train Iraqis for their country’s post-war police force.- AFP