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.”


Masked attackers kill five Syria rescuers: White Helmets

Updated 26 May 2018
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Masked attackers kill five Syria rescuers: White Helmets

  • The White Helmets said armed men stormed the Al-Hader center in a pre-dawn attack and fired on the first responders inside.
  • Four volunteers were killed on the spot and a fifth died later in hospital.

BEIRUT: Five Syrian rescue workers were killed in an attack by masked assailants Saturday on one of their centers in the northern province of Aleppo, the White Helmets said.
The White Helmets said armed men stormed the Al-Hader center in a pre-dawn attack and fired on the first responders inside.
Four volunteers were killed on the spot and a fifth died later in hospital, it wrote on Twitter.
Founded in 2013, the White Helmets are a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or blasts in rebel-held territory.
The Al-Hader center lies in a part of Aleppo province controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), an extremist organization whose main component was once Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
“At around 2:00 am, an armed group stormed the Al-Hader center, blindfolded the staff members who were on the night shift, and killed five of them,” said Ahmad Al-Hamish, who heads the center.
“Two others were wounded and another two were able to flee. The attackers were masked and escaped after stealing some equipment and generators,” he said.
It was unclear whether the attack was a robbery-gone-wrong or if the center and its crew had been specifically targeted.
More than 200 White Helmets rescuers have been killed in Syria’s seven-year war, usually in bombing raids or shelling on their centers.
While attacks like the one on Saturday are rare, they have happened before.
In August, seven White Helmets members were killed in a similar attack in the town of Sarmin, in neighboring Idlib province.
Most of Idlib is held by HTS, as well as a part of Aleppo and the adjacent province of Hama.
Tensions are on the rise there, with a wave of intra-opposition assassinations and clashes leaving at least 20 rebels dead in 48 hours, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“You cannot separate the Al-Hader incident from the assassinations and other killings that have been happening more and more in recent weeks in areas under HTS control,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The population of Idlib province has swelled to more than two million people as a result of massive transfers of rebels and civilians from onetime opposition zones elsewhere in the country.
The killings come as the White Helmets are facing a “freeze” on funding from the United States, which is still reviewing over $200 million earmarked for stabilization in Syria.