JERICHO: Israeli troops at the border with Jordan on Monday shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian judge who allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon, prompting Amman and Ramallah to demand an investigation.
The shooting took place on Monday morning at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, with the Israeli military saying troops had opened fire after a man tried to snatch a weapon from one of its soldiers.
The Palestinian Authority sharply condemned the incident and Amman summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest, demanding an “immediate investigation.”
An Israeli army statement said “a Palestinian attempted to seize the weapon of a soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan”.
“In response the forces at the scene opened fire towards the suspect. A hit was identified.”
Palestinian security officials identified the victim as 38-year-old Raed Zeiter and Amman confirmed he also held Jordanian nationality.
A Jordanian security official confirmed to AFP that Zeiter worked as a judge in Amman and had left for the West Bank early on Monday. Jordan’s justice ministry said he worked at a magistrates court in the capital.
Nazmi Muhanna, the Palestinian official in charge of border crossings, told AFP they were questioning around 50 people who had been with Zeiter on the bus carrying travellers from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side of the crossing.
“We are investigating with all the witnesses who were on the same bus. We will verify everything,” he said.
“There are no surveillance cameras there so we cannot get to the truth without the witnesses who were on that bus.”
Jordan’s foreign minister summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest and demand an immediate probe.
“Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires in Amman and strongly condemned the shooting of Jordanian judge Raed Zeiter,” a statement said.
“The Jordanian government is expecting a comprehensive report on the incident from the Israeli government. Jordan wants an immediate investigation without any delay,” it quoted Judeh as saying.
The Palestinian Authority also strongly condemned the incident and demanded an “international investigation” into the circumstances of Zeiter’s death.
“The Palestinian government vigorously condemns the shooting at close range of Judge Raed Zeiter... while he was coming in from Jordan,” it said.
Palestinian security officials said Zeiter was originally from the northern West Bank city of Nablus, but had left the territories in 2011 and not returned.
Zeiter, who leaves behind a wife and two young children — one of whom is in a coma in hospital — was to be buried in Nablus on Tuesday morning, his family said.
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