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Jordan condemns fatal shooting of knife assailant as 'heinous crime'

May 14, 2017 12:42 P.M. (Updated: May 14, 2017 9:28 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Jordanian government said Saturday that it held the Israeli government responsible for the death of Muhammad al-Skaji, a Jordanian national, reportedly of Palestinian origin, who was shot and killed earlier in the day in occupied in East Jerusalem’s Old City, after he attacked an Israeli policeman with a knife.

Spokesperson for the Jordanian government and Jordanian Minister of Media Affairs Muhammad al-Mumni condemned in a statement the “heinous crime” committed against al-Skaji and demanded that Israel provide all details surrounding the incident.

He added that Jordan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry was following up on the details of the incident in coordination with the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv.

The remarks angered the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to mention that al-Skaji was killed for attacking and moderately injuring the Israeli officer.

“It was outrageous to hear the spokesperson of the Jordanian government express support for the terror attack perpetrated today in Jerusalem by a Jordanian,” the statement said, adding that “it's time that Jordan stops this double game. Just as Israel condemns terror attacks in Jordan, Jordan must condemn terror attacks in Israel.”

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Israeli police were investigating whether the attack may have been driven by a personal grievance or a mental issue, and that police also raided the hotel where al-Skaji had been staying and detained one of the trip organizers.

Last September, Israeli forces shot and killed a Jordanian citizen after he allegedly attempted to carry out at an knife attack at Damascus Gate in the Old City.

Meanwhile, 21 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since the beginning of the year, most of them shot while allegedly or actually committing attacks -- with four such incidents having occurred in Jerusalem’s Old City.

While Israeli officials routinely claim that attacks against Israeli forces are part of a international rise in Islamist extremism, many Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.
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