Jordanian lawmakers favor releasing killer of Israeli children

(JTA) — A petition for the release of a Jordanian soldier who murdered seven Israeli schoolgirls has received the endorsement of 110 Jordanian lawmakers.

The petition signed this week calls for the release of Cpl. Ahmed Daqamseh, who murdered the girls and injured five others and a teacher in 1997 near the Israeli-Jordanian border, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Daqamseh opened fire on a group of 80 seventh- and eighth-grade school girls from the AMIT Fuerst School in Bet Shemesh who were visiting the Island of Peace, a joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort under Jordanian rule.

Following the massacre, the late King Hussein of Jordan apologized for the attack and traveled to Israel to pay his respects to the families.

In February 2011, Jordanian Justice Minister Hussein Mjali, who previously served as Daqamseh’s defense lawyer during the 1997 trial, called Daqamseh a hero, adding, "If a Jew murdered Arabs, they’d [the Israelis] build him a statue."

Daqamseh was sentenced by a Jordanian military tribunal to life in prison.

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