Week of July 17th

  • On July 17th, Jordanian air force sergeant Ma’arik al-Tawayha was given a life sentence for killing three U.S. green berets in November 2016. Just this week, now that the trial has ended, the Jordanian military has released footage showing the shooting, which appears to indicate that Tawayha deliberately shot the soldiers. The video undermines original reports that Tawayha had made a mistake, or was acting in response to the troops not following protocol for entering King Faisal Air Base. The footage was allegedly released to appease protests from Tawayha’s influential tribe, the Howeitat. Though the intent of the crime is still unknown, U.S.-Jordan relations remain good.
  • Also in Jordan, the shooting at the Israeli embassy in Amman over the weekend was the result of an argument over furniture delivery deadlines, Jordan’s public security directorate has said. According to the security directorate, a Jordanian carpenter attacked and wounded an Israeli security guard following an argument on Sunday. The guard then shot the Jordanian worker and the embassy building’s Jordanian landlord standing next to him, the public security directorate said. The carpenter, who was in the embassy compound for routine furniture replacement, attacked the security official from behind by stabbing him with a screwdriver, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. Israel said the security official was slightly wounded but defended himself. The two Jordanian men later died in the hospital. The diplomat was transferred back to Israel.  Tensions between Jordan and its neighbor had soared over the last week after Israel installed metal detectors outside the entrance to one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims. The Kingdom of Jordan has been the official guardian of the Noble Sanctuary since 1919. Israel’s Ministry of Justice has since announced that the State Prosecutor’s Office has requested the opening of a preliminary investigation the shooting.
  • Nine animals that had been kept alive at a damaged zoo on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, were evacuated and taken to a rehabilitation center in Turkey on Friday. The animals — three lions, two tigers, two bears and two hyenas — were trucked from Aalim al Sahar, or Magic World, zoo after months of uncertainty. They had been sustained by a few locals who, though they also had barely enough food to survive, took it upon themselves to feed and care for the animals. The zoo’s owner fled during the battle. Some animals were killed by bombs or shells, while others were left to starve in their cages. The animals will be evaluated and treated by sponsoring organization Four Paws International before being rehoused. Further animals await rescue from the zoo in Aleppo.
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