Jordan Says Israel Apologizes for Embassy Killings; Embassy in Amman to Reopen Immediately

AMMAN (Reuters/Hamodia) -

Jordan said on Thursday that Israel has formally apologized for the deaths of two of its citizens killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that has soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said.

Government spokesman Mohammad al Momani was quoted by state news agency Petra as saying the Israeli Foreign Ministry had sent a memorandum in which it sent its “deep regrets and apologies” and said Israel pledged to take legal steps in the case.

Following the Jordanian statement, the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) confirmed that an agreement was reached and the embassy in Amman would now reopen, but made no mention of an apology or any legal steps.

“Israel and Jordan have reached an agreement following the incident in Amman involving an Israeli diplomat on July 23, 2017, and the incident in which a Jordanian judge was killed on March 10, 2014.

“The Israeli embassy in Jordan will return to full activity immediately. The Israeli authorities will continue reviewing the materials regarding the July 2017 incident and anticipate making a decision in the coming weeks. Israel attaches great importance to its strategic relations with Jordan, and the two countries will act to advance their cooperation and to strengthen the peace treaty between them,” the statement concluded.

Following the incident last year, the Israeli security establishment conducted an investigation, concluding that the security guard had acted in self-defense when one of the two men attacked him; the other was shot accidentally. The state promised a full report of the findings to Amman, but gave no commitment regarding prosecution. Israel refused to hand him over to Jordanian authorities, claiming diplomatic immunity on his behalf.

Jordan had said it will not allow Israel to reopen its embassy in Amman until it has launched legal proceedings against the Israeli security guard.