Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian man at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan, the Israeli army said.
Israeli officials said the man, identified as 38-year-old Judge Raed Ala’eddin Nafe’ Zeiter, who allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon, died from his injuries shortly after he was shot.
“A short while ago a Palestinian attempted to seize the weapon of a soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan. In response, the forces at the scene opened fire towards the suspect,” an Israeli military statement said.
Palestinian media sources said he was a court judge in Jordan and a PhD holder. Zeiter was identified as one of 30 Jordanian judges who received a promotion last month, according to Jordan’s Judicial Council [AR].
He was crossing into the West Bank from Jordan to visit the northern city of Nablus, reports said.
Nazmi Mhana, the director-general of the Palestinian Crossings Authority, told the government news agency WAFA that an Israeli soldier shot the man after a verbal altercation. According to WAFA, eyewitnesses deny claims that Zeiter tried to seize the soldier’s weapon, saying there was some distance between the two.
In a statement, the Palestinian government condemned the killing of Judge Raed Zeiter and called for the formation of an international committee to investigate the incident.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires to protest and demand an immediate probe.
“Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires in Amman and strongly condemned the shooting of Jordanian judge Raed Zeiter,” a statement said.
Ofer Lefler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority which is responsible for all border crossings, said the frontier had been closed in the wake of the attack for several hours, though it has been reopened.
Shooting incidents at Allenby bridge, which is operated jointly by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, are rare.
Allenby Bridge, also known as Karama Bridge, or King Hussein Bridge, is the only crossing point for Palestinians travelling through the West Bank to Jordan and the rest of the world.
Last month, Amnesty International published a report which said Israeli forces were using “excessive violence” in the occupied West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what the rights group said might constitute a war crime.
The Israeli army dismissed the criticism, saying security forces had seen a substantial increase in Palestinian violence.
(Agencies and Al Jazeera – www.aljazeera.com)