Two US train­ers shot dead at Jor­dan base

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -


Two US train­ers were killed and a third Amer­i­can wounded in an ex­change of fire yes­ter­day at a Jor­da­nian air force base, the Jor­da­nian army said. It was not im­me­di­ately clear who ini­ti­ated the shoot­ing, which the army said took place at the gate of AlJafr base in south­ern Jor­dan. But the army, in a state­ment, said it hap­pened when the car car­ry­ing the US train­ers failed to stop, adding that a Jor­da­nian of­fi­cer was also wounded.

“An ex­change of fire oc­curred yes­ter­day morn­ing at the gate of the Prince Feisal Air Base in Al-Jafr when a car car­ry­ing train­ers at­tempted to en­ter the gate with­out heed­ing the guards’ or­ders to stop,” it said quot­ing a mil­i­tary source. The army said the wounded were evac­u­ated to hos­pi­tal and that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was under way to de­ter­mine the causes of the shoot­ing.

The US em­bassy in Jor­dan ac­knowl­edged a “se­cu­rity in­ci­dent in­volv­ing US per­son­nel” in a state­ment re­ceived by AFP but gave few other de­tails. “We are in con­tact with the ap­pro­pri­ate Jor­da­nian au­thor­i­ties, who have of­fered their full sup­port. We will re­port more in­for­ma­tion when avail­able and ap­pro­pri­ate,” it said. The death of two US mil­i­tary train­ers in Jor­dan could prove very em­bar­rass­ing for Am­man, a key re­cip­i­ent of US fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and mem­ber of the US-led coali­tion fight­ing the Is­lamic State group in neigh­bor­ing Syria and Iraq.

US forces have trained a small group of vet­ted Syr­ian rebels in Jor­dan, and Amer­i­can in­struc­tors have trained Iraqi and Pales­tinian se­cu­rity forces in Jor­dan as well over the past few years. Yes­ter­day’s in­ci­dent comes al­most a year af­ter a Jor­da­nian po­lice­man shot dead two US in­struc­tors, a South African and two Jor­da­ni­ans at a po­lice train­ing cen­tre east of Am­man, before be­ing gunned down.

Washington said at the time that the two Amer­i­cans killed in the Novem­ber 9, 2015 shoot­ing were em­ploy­ees of the pri­vate firm DynCorp con­tracted by the State Depart­ment to train Pales­tinian forces. Two other Amer­i­cans were wounded in that in­ci­dent, which sparked con­cern in Washington and was con­demned by the US em­bassy. The cen­tre where last year’s shoot­ing took place was set up af­ter the US-led in­va­sion of Iraq in 2003. It has since trained tens of thou­sands of Iraqi, Pales­tinian and Afghani po­lice of­fi­cers, and last year Jor­dan an­nounced that for­mer Libyan rebels would also be trained there. A gov­ern­ment source said that mil­i­tary train­ing is pro­vided at Al-Jafr air base by in­struc­tors of var­i­ous na­tion­al­i­ties, in­clud­ing Amer­i­cans, to par­tic­i­pants from dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Last year, the United States an­nounced its in­ten­tion to in­crease over­all US as­sis­tance to Jor­dan from $660 mil­lion to $1 bil­lion an­nu­ally for the 20152017 pe­riod. — AFP

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