Israel apologizes for killing of two Jordanians at embassy: Jordan FM

Mourners carry the body of 17-year-old Mohammed Jawawdeh, during his funeral on July 25, 2017, in Amman. (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Israel apologizes for killing of two Jordanians at embassy: Jordan FM

AMMAN: Israel has apologized for the killing of two Jordanians at its embassy in Amman and agreed to investigate their deaths.
The two men were shot dead by an Israeli security guard at the embassy compound in July. The embassy has been shut ever since.
Jordan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it had received a letter from the Israeli government offering a “deep apology and regret” for the killings.
“Israel has accepted all of the demands of Jordan. It agreed to legally investigate the embassy case, sent an apology and has agreed to pay compensation to the families of those killed,” government spokesman Mohammad Momani said.
Momani said the families have accepted the apology and agreed to an offer of compensation for their relatives' deaths. No details were made available of how much.
The shooting killed Bashar Hamarneh, the landlord of a house at the embassy complex and a young furniture repair man Mohammad Jawwadeh.
Israel said the guard had been defending himself after Jawawdah attacked him with a screwdriver.
Jordan denied the claim and was infuriated when Israel refused to allow Jordanian police to interview the shooter, sparking a diplomatic standoff.
The killer returned to Israel under diplomatic immunity and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted him with a hug.
The Israeli letter also included an offer to compensate the family of Raed Zuieta, a Jordanian judge killed at the King Hussein bridge in March 2014.
Israel expressed its desire to renew relations with Jordan, Momani said. The Jordanian government will take the appropriate steps in “the higher interests” of Jordan, he added.
Khalil Atiyeh, deputy speaker at the Jordanian Parliament, told Arab News that the Israelis folded under pressure. 
“The pressure from the King backed by the popular demands forced the Zionists to accept the need to abide by international law and respect the wishes of the Jordanian people,” he said. 
Atiyeh, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, said that this is a “victory for Jordan and for King Abdullah.”


Assad forces target fighters near Golan Heights

Nearly half of Syria's pre-war population of 23 million have been uprooted from their homes. AP
Updated 16 July 2018
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Assad forces target fighters near Golan Heights

  • Regime forces fired more than 800 missiles at an area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside
  • In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the fighters for years back to regime control

BEIRUT: Syrian regime forces unleashed hundreds of missiles on an opposition-held area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday, activists said, the latest phase in an offensive to clear southern Syria of insurgents.
The regime’s push came after it had secured control of most of Daraa province in an offensive that began in June. On Sunday, the first batch of armed fighters and their families left the city of Daraa, the provincial capital, in buses that would take them to the opposition-held Idlib province in the north.
Similar deals in other parts of Syria resulted in the evacuation of thousands of opposition fighters and civilians — evacuations that the UN and rights groups have decried as forced displacement.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday the success in driving the opposition out of Daraa embodies the will of his army and allied forces to “liberate all of Syrian territories” of “terrorism.”
In recent months and backed by Russian air force, the Syrian regime has restored control of over 60 percent of previously opposition-held territory across the country.
Assad spoke during a meeting on Sunday with visiting Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hossein Jaberi Ansari. Assad’s office said the two agreed that the “elimination of terrorism in most of the Syrian territory has laid the most appropriate ground to reach results at the political level” that could put an end to Syria’s war.
Syria’s regime refers to all armed opposition groups as “terrorists” and accuses the West, Turkey, Israel and regional countries of supporting them.
The statement came a day before President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are to meet in Finland. Syria is expected to feature highly on the agenda. Russia is a major Assad ally.
In Daraa, the evacuation deal will hand over areas held by the fighters for years back to regime control. Daraa, which lies on a highway linking Damascus with Jordan, was the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Since early Sunday, regime forces turned their missiles toward a stretch of land controlled by the armed opposition in northern Daraa and the countryside of adjacent Quneitra.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime forces fired more than 800 missiles at an area between northern Daraa and the Quneitra countryside, about 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, from the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Observatory said government forces advanced on Massharah, a village in Quneitra, and rebels fought back in intense clashes that killed several pro-government fighters. The pro-Syrian regime Central Military Media said a number of insurgents were killed in the clashes.
The Observatory reported airstrikes in Massharah, the first in over a year to hit the Quneitra countryside. It also reported airstrikes in a nearby village in northern Daraa, where regime forces have been trying to retake a key hill there after failing to reach a deal with the fighters. Capturing the hill would enable them to advance on militants in the area linked to Daesh.
Daraa activist Abou Mahmoud Hourani said an estimated 400 members of the armed opposition and their families will be evacuated out of Daraa.
Pro-regime TV Al-Ikhbariya said 10 buses carrying 407 people left for northern Syria.
The station said the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people was likely to be completed by Sunday.