Jordan MPs demand government free killer of Israeli girls
Palestinians carry the body of Raed Zeiter, 38, during his funeral in the northern West Bank city of Nablus - AFP/Ahmad Gharbali

AMMAN: The lower house of Jordan’s parliament, incensed over the shooting death of a Jordanian judge by Israeli soldiers, demanded Wednesday that the government free a soldier who murdered Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.

In a non-binding resolution, all 150 members of the lower house said “we demand that the government release Jordanian soldier Ahmad Dakamseh from jail.”

Dakamseh had opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls as they visited Baqura, a scenic peninsula on the Jordan River near the Israeli border.

He killed seven of the girls and wounded five more, as well as a teacher, and was sentenced to life in prison.

“We also demand that the government expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman and recall the Jordanian ambassador in Israel in response to the killing of Jordanian judge Raed Zeiter,” the resolution said.

It gave the government until Tuesday to meet its demands, failing which it threatened a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur.

The shooting Monday set off a diplomatic row between Israel and Amman, with Nsur saying Israel is “completely responsible” and demanding an apology for the “hideous” shooting.

Israel has expressed regret for the killing, but stopped short of apologizing to Jordan, which is the only Arab country besides Egypt to have made peace with the Jewish state.

The lower house said that “what happened proved that Israel is a racist country that does not want peace.”

The Israeli army said Zeiter, 38 had charged at the soldiers with a metal pole while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), prompting them to fire at his legs.

“The suspect then began to strangle a soldier and the force resorted to using live fire once again,” killing the man, the army said.

Jordan’s opposition Islamists, youth groups and others have said they plan to hold a demonstration in central Amman to protest Zeiter’s killing.

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