Jordan on Sunday released a soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls during a class trip in 1997, after he served 20 years in prison, an official said.
Jordan on Sunday released a soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls during a class trip, after he served 20 years in prison, an official said.
Ahmed Daqamseh was convicted of the 1997 killings at the “Island of Peace” border post where he was stationed at the time.
Amer Sartawi, a spokesman for Jordan’s Public Security Directorate, said Daqamseh was freed early Sunday.
A military court deemed him mentally unstable at the time and sentenced him to life in prison, which in Jordan typically means 25 years. Jordanian lawmakers had lobbied for his early release.
After the shooting, Jordan’s King Hussein – the late father of the current king, Abdullah II – rushed to Israel and paid condolence visits to the girls’ families.
The shooting came three years after Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty.
A Jordanian official said that authorities released Daqamseh during the early hours of Sunday morning to avoid celebratory scenes upon his release, according to The New Arab.
The release could raise tensions between Israel and Jordan. In 2011, Israel summoned Jordan’s ambassador to express anger after the kingdom’s justice minister at the time called for Daqamseh’s release.
Daqamseh’s family had previously expressed fears that Israel would attempt to assassinate him upon his release.