Israel apologizes for killing of Jordanian judge

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel offered an official apology to Jordan over the killing of a Jordanian judge who attacked an Israeli soldier at the Allenby border crossing.

“Israel regrets the death of Judge Raed Zeiter yesterday at the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge and expresses its sympathies to the people and government of Jordan,” a statement issued Tuesday by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

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The statement also said that Israel has shared the results of a preliminary investigation of the incident with Jordan and that Israel agreed to establish a joint Israeli-Jordanian investigation team.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office on Tuesday issued the results of a preliminary investigation into the incident.

“The preliminary conclusion of the investigation indicates that the terrorist attacked the soldier. He charged at the soldiers shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ with a metal pole, and then attempted to seize the soldier’s weapon prompting the soldiers to respond by firing towards his lower extremities, in line with standard operating procedures. The suspect then began to strangle a soldier and the force resorted to using live fire once again,” the statement said.

Palestinian witnesses reportedly said Zeiter was shot following an argument over a cigarette.

The incident was not recorded, the military told Israeli media, saying that the security camera on site was broken.

Zeiter was first identified as a Palestinian man from Nablus in the West Bank. Reports were later amended to report that he also held Jordanian citizenship, lived with his family in Amman and worked as a civil court judge in Amman.

He was buried in Nablus on Tuesday; hundreds attended his funeral.

Jordanian protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Amman attempted to break into the compound on Monday night following the incident.

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