Jordan soldier who shot Israeli schoolgirls freed after end of sentence

Ahmad Daqamseh was jailed for 20 years in 1997 after a Jordanian military tribunal found him guilty of opening fire at a group of Israeli schoolchildren and killing seven of them.

Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier convicted of killing seven Israeli schoolgirls on March 13, 1997, is seen at Um Alluol prison in the city of Mafraq, Jordan, July 30, 2013. Muhammad Hamed / Reuters
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AMMAN // A Jordanian soldier convicted of killing seven Israeli school girls two decades ago has been released from prison after serving his sentence.

Ahmad Daqamseh was in his family home in the village of Ibdir near the city of Irbid in northern Jordan, family sources said.

“The authorities released Ahmad Daqamseh this Sunday around 1am after he finished his jail term. He is now a free man,” his cousin Mohammed Yahya Daqamseh said.

In July 1997, a five-member Jordanian military tribunal found Corporal Daqamseh guilty of opening fire at a group of Israeli schoolchildren and killing seven of them before soldiers seized him and rushed to help the victims.

The incident took place on March 13 of that year during a school field trip in the border area in Jordan.

Daqamseh would have faced the death penalty but the tribunal said he was mentally unstable and was given a life sentence which is equivalent to 20 years under Jordanian law.

A few days after the incident, the late King Hussein personally apologised for the attack, travelling to Israel to visit and pay his respects to the families of the slain girls.

* Reuters and Agence France-Presse