US instructors among five killed by Jordanian policeman

The attacker wounded two other American instructors and four Jordanians before he was shot dead by police colleagues.

General view of King Abdullah bin Al Hussein Training Centre where a Jordanian officer went on a shooting spree in Mwaqar near Amman, Jordan, on November 9, 2015. Two American military personnel and one South African were killed in the attack. Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
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Amman // A Jordanian policeman shot dead two US instructors, a South African and two fellow Jordanians at a police academy on Monday before being gunned down.

The death toll rose “after a Jordanian victim succumbed to wounds sustained during the shooting” at the Jordanian International Police Training Centre, the embassy in Washington said.

Earlier, the Jordanian government spokesman had said the shooter has also wounded two American instructors, four Jordanians and a Lebanese citizen before being shot.

Mohammed Momani, who is also information minister, said the assailant was gunned down by colleagues at the centre in Al Muwaqqar, 30 kilometres east of Amman.

He said an investigation was under way to determine the motive for the shooting, .

The three foreign instructors killed were on contract with Jordanian police, Mr Momani said.

Sources close to the family identified the shooter as police captain Anwar Abu Zeid.

“He has no ties with any terrorist organisation like Daesh,” said one.

“The family is in shock and security forces are questioning them about the incident.”

The English-language Jordan Times quoted a relative of the gunman as saying he was a 28-year-old father of two from the northern village of Rimun.

He was known in his hometown as “a very kind person, who is religious but moderate”, the relative said.

The US embassy issued a statement condemning the attack.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of all of the victims,” it said.

“The investigation is ongoing and it is premature to speculate on motive at this point.”

The embassy also posted on its website a message for US citizens reporting a “security incident” at the police training centre and urging individuals “to please avoid that area for the time being”.

“Please monitor the news for further developments and maintain security awareness,” the message said.

The attack coincided with the 10th anniversary of suicide bombings in Amman hotels that killed 60 people and wounded dozens more.

On Monday, King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania attended a memorial for the victims of the 2005 attacks.

“I know that this is a difficult day for you,” the king told families of the victims, and deplored the “tragedies caused by terrorism” around the world.

The king later visited the wounded from Monday’s attack who were being treated at a military hospital.

The 2005 bombings, which were claimed by Al Qaeda, shocked one of the Middle East’s most stable countries and a key US ally.

Earlier this year Jordan executed an Iraqi woman whose husband was one of the bombers.

Sajida Al Rishawi was arrested after the attacks and confessed that she was also wearing an explosives belt but had been unable to activate it. She was tried and sentenced to death.

She was executed on February 4 along with another Iraqi extremist who had been on death row in revenge for the killing by ISIL of fighter pilot Maaz Al Kassasbeh.

ISIL captured the fighter last December and later burned him alive in a cage.

The pilot’s murder sparked international outrage and was described by a senior Jordanian official as a “turning point” in the kingdom’s fight against ISIL.

Jordan is part of a US-led coalition battling ISIL, which has seized swathes of territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The kingdom has trained tens of thousands of Iraqi, Palestinian and Afghani police officers and earlier this year announced plans to train former Libyan rebels at the police academy.

The centre was set up after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq to train Iraqis for their country’s post-war police force.

* Agence France-Presse with additional reporting from Reuters