Jordan shooting complicates middle east crisis

A deadly shooting at Israel's Embassy in Jordan has further complicated an escalating crisis over Jerusalem's most contested holy site.The shooting, in which an Israeli security guard killed two Jordanians after being attacked by one of them with a screwdriver, comes as a US envoy headed to the region to try to defuse the crisis over the shrine.

The trip by Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt was the first sign of a high-level, on-the-ground involvement by the Trump administration to end the stand-off between Israel and the Muslim world.
The escalation began earlier this month when Arab gunmen fired from the holy site, killing two Israeli policemen. In response, Israel installed metal detectors at the site, a move that incensed the Muslim world.

Jordan is the Muslim custodian of the Jerusalem site, which is also revered by Jews and has played a key role in efforts to end the stand-off. The shooting at Israel's embassy in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Sunday evening is bound to raise friction between the two countries and further inflame Jordanian public opinion against Israel. Israel's Foreign Ministry said the incident began when two Jordanian workmen arrived at a residential building to replace furniture.

It said one of the workers, identified by Israeli media as a 17-year-old of Palestinian origin, attacked an Israeli security guard with a screwdriver. The guard opened fire, killing the teen, the media reports said.

A second Jordanian, the owner of the building, was hit by gunfire and later died of his wounds.Jordanian police said the building owner was a physician. The Israeli guard was lightly hurt.Israeli media said Jordan has demanded to conduct an investigation and has prevented Israeli Embassy staff from leaving the premises. The Israeli Foreign Ministry did not refer to a possible stand-off in its statement but said the guard has diplomatic immunity under international conventions.

An Israeli government official would not say whether the security guard was being prevented by Jordanian authorities from leaving the kingdom. He said talks were under way whether to evacuate the embassy staff, given the tensions in Jordan.

cred: Reuters

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