Jordanian: British are enemies of Islam 

Chron.Com 

AMMAN, Jordan — A Jordanian accused of opening fire on Western tourists in Amman's Roman amphitheater, killing a Briton and wounding six others, insisted in court Wednesday that God "blessed" him for the attack and said the British are enemies of Islam. 

Prosecutors say Nabeel Ahmed Issa al-Jaourah fired a pistol at Westerners visiting the historic site in September, killing British accountant Christopher Stokes.

Five other tourists from Australia, Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand were wounded, along with a Jordanian police officer. 

"God blessed me when I killed a British man and hurt others, because they are fighting the Prophet and his soldiers since (the) Balfour Declaration," al-Jaourah told the military court. In the 1917 document, the British government promised to support the creation of Israel. 

"The British people ... insulted the honorable Quran and women who wear the head cover," said al-Jaourah, who is a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin. He was apparently referring to comments by British House of Commons leader Jack Straw, who said in October that face-covering Muslim veils inhibit communication. Al-Jaourah has pleaded innocent to murder charges.

But after his comments, the prosecutor said he had confessed and urged the court "to hand him the harshest punishment." Al-Jaourah faces a possible sentence of death by hanging if convicted. The trial resumes in a week. The Sept. 4 shooting was a rare attack on tourists in Jordan.

Prosecutors have said al-Jaourah acted alone and had no links to terrorist groups. In recent years, Jordan has carried out a string of trials against suspected terror cells operating in the country, caught between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq war. In a separate case Wednesday, Jordan's military court sentenced two Jordanians of Palestinian origin to 10 years in prison for trying to infiltrate Israel with automatic weapons to carry out attacks. 

Another defendant in the case, Osama Taleb al-Mahdawi, 25, from the West Bank town of Tulkarem, was sentenced to a year in prison, and two other defendants were acquitted. The five defendants, arrested Jan. 8, lived in the northern refugee camp of Irbid. After the judge read the verdict, the militants shouted, "God is great," knelt on the floor, and started to pray. 

In another trial, an Iraqi accused of being a member of al-Qaida in Iraq railed at the presiding judge, praised Osama Bin Laden and called Jordan's King Abdullah II an infidel. 

"Jordan is one of the bases for the American attacks on Iraq and trains the Iraqi police who, with the Shiites, want to destroy Iraq," Ziad Khalaf Raja al-Karbouly said. "I accuse all the rulers of this era of being infidels, including (King) Abdullah bin al-Hussein." He told the court that he is "proud of being a member of al-Qaida and a soldier for Osama Bin Laden," adding that, "We in al-Qaida, will continue our holy war and our reward will be the dear virgins of heaven.

" The judge asked the military prosecutor to add charges of slandering the king to the charges against al-Karbouly. The defendant is accused of being part of a cell that killed a Jordanian truck driver in Iraq and attacked other Jordanians in the neighboring country. Thirteen other suspects in the case are being tried in absentia. 

Al-Karbouli denied the killing of the driver, saying that his confession was extracted under threats and duress. The trial was adjourned until Dec. 6. 

 


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