Israel working to bring home embassy guard from Jordan


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is working to bring home an Israeli security guard at the embassy in Amman, Jordan, who shot and killed a teenage assailant and a bystander, as well as returning the rest of the embassy staff to Israel.

“I spoke twice overnight with Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Shalin and with the security guard,” Netanyahu said Monday afternoon, a day after the incident, during remarks to the media at the start of a meeting with visiting Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. “I gained the impression that she is managing matters there very well. I assured the security guard that we will see to bringing him back to Israel; we have experience in this.”

Netanyahu said Israel is holding contacts with security and government officials in Amman, on all levels, “in order to bring the incident to a close as quickly as possible.”

The Jordanian ambassador to Israel met at the Foreign Ministry in order to help resolve the matter, Netanyahu said.

“We are also holding contacts on various other channels with one objective – to bring the incident to a close and to bring our people to Israel. And we are doing this determinedly and responsibly,” he said. “Thus we are also acting regarding the right way to ensure security and quiet on the Temple Mount, in the Old City and in Jerusalem as a whole.”

Netanyahu said the Security Cabinet would meet later Monday to discuss the issues.

The guard killed his 17-year-old assailant and a bystander after being stabbed in the chest with a screwdriver on Sunday evening. The stabber had entered the residential building used by the Israeli Embassy in order to install some furniture when he allegedly attacked the guard, who shot the teen. The owner of the building was killed when he was hit with a stray bullet, according to reports.

Jordanian police are demanding to question the guard, while relatives of the stabber are calling for the death penalty.

The Israeli Embassy has refused to release the guard to the Jordanians for questioning, saying he has immunity. Jordan, meanwhile, refuses to allow the guard to leave the country. The Israeli diplomatic team remains confined to the embassy compound, Haaretz reported.

The Foreign Ministry told the Israeli media that it considers the incident to be a terror attack and related it to the current Temple Mount crisis.

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