Eight in­jured in Jor­dan stab­bing; Jor­da­ni­ans held by Is­rael re­turn

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

AMMAN: Eight peo­ple, in­clud­ing four tourists, were wounded in a knife at­tack yes­ter­day at the famed arche­o­log­i­cal site of Jerash in north­ern Jor­dan, a se­cu­rity spokesman told AFP. Four tourists - three Mex­i­cans and a Swiss woman - were wounded, along with a Jor­da­nian tour guide and a se­cu­rity of­fi­cer who tried to stop the as­sailant, pub­lic se­cu­rity di­rec­torate spokesman Amer Sartawi said. The at­tack took place around noon (1000 GMT) at the Ro­man ru­ins of Jerash, a pop­u­lar at­trac­tion 50 km from the cap­i­tal Amman.

HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad AlJaber Al-Sabah yes­ter­day ca­bled Jor­da­nian King Ab­dul­lah II, ex­press­ing sor­row on the stab­bing in­ci­dent. He ex­pressed deep dis­tress at such a crim­i­nal act that tar­geted the in­no­cent, wish­ing the in­jured quick re­cov­ery. HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAh­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Min­is­ter

Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah sent sim­i­lar cables to the monarch.

The Jor­da­nian health min­istry con­firmed that eight peo­ple had been wounded, with Sartawi say­ing ear­lier that they had “been trans­ported to hospi­tal for treat­ment”. He said the as­sailant had been ar­rested but did not spec­ify his na­tion­al­ity, not­ing that the mo­tive was as yet un­known. Jor­da­nian tour guide Zouheir Zreiqat was at the scene and told AFP that the at­tack hap­pened “just be­fore mid­day when around 100 for­eign tourists” were at the site.

“A bearded man in his twen­ties wear­ing black and bran­dish­ing a knife started to stab tourists,” ac­cord­ing to Zreiqat. He said oth­ers started to shout for help and he, along with three other tour guides and three tourists man­aged to stop the as­sailant. “We chased him un­til we could grab him and get him on the ground,” Zreiqat said. “We took the knife from him. He stayed silent, with­out say­ing a word un­til the po­lice ar­rived and ar­rested him.”

Mean­while, two Jor­da­ni­ans, whose de­ten­tion with­out charge by Is­rael led Jor­dan to re­call its am­bas­sador, re­turned home yes­ter­day in a han­dover deal that de­fused a diplo­matic cri­sis, of­fi­cials said. Hiba Labadi, 24, was ar­rested in Au­gust after cross­ing into the oc­cu­pied West Bank to at­tend a fam­ily wed­ding. She sub­se­quently went on a hunger strike and was hos­pi­tal­ized after her health de­te­ri­o­rated. Sep­a­rately, Ab­del­rah­man Merhi, 29, was ar­rested in Septem­ber after he also en­tered the West Bank to visit rel­a­tives

Jor­dan’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ay­man Safadi said on Mon­day the two would re­turn to Jor­dan “be­fore the end of the week” with­out say­ing how their re­lease had been se­cured. Safadi how­ever said King Ab­dul­lah had or­dered the gov­ern­ment to do every­thing nec­es­sary to bring them back “what­ever that may cost”.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Benjamin Ne­tanyahu’s of­fice said the han­dover was agreed after talks be­tween Is­raeli and Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity chiefs. It said Jor­dan’s am­bas­sador would re­turn to his post “in the com­ing days”. Is­rael’s deputy for­eign min­is­ter, Tzipi Ho­tovely, said last month both de­tainees were sus­pected of se­cu­rity of­fences, with­out be­ing more spe­cific.

Diplo­mats say the deal de­fused a cri­sis fol­low­ing Safadi’s warn­ing that Jor­dan would take fur­ther diplo­matic mea­sures if Is­rael did not re­lease the two de­tainees, who he said were il­le­gally held with­out charge. Jor­da­ni­ans, many of whom are of Pales­tinian ori­gin, op­pose nor­mal­iza­tion of re­la­tions with Is­rael, de­spite a 1994 peace treaty. In an­nounc­ing the de­ci­sion to re­lease Labadi and Miri, Is­rael said it viewed its re­la­tions with Jor­dan as “a cor­ner­stone of sta­bil­ity in the Mid­dle East”.

Hiba Al-Labadi

Ab­del­rah­man Merhi

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