A Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 was released after serving 20 years in prison.
Ahmed Daqamseh was given a rousing welcome in his home village in northern Jordan after being freed on Sunday. He expressed no remorse for the killings.
The soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli students at the scenic “Island of Peace” border post in March 1997, killing seven and wounding seven, including a teacher.
Israel’s government had no comment on Sunday.
Jordan’s then-ruler King Hussein condemned the attack and later travelled to Israel to offer his condolences to the families of the murdered schoolgirls. Amman also paid compensation.
|For years, Daqamseh’s supporters have been demanding the Jordanian government to order his release [Reuters/File]|
Yisrael Fatihi, whose 13-year-old daughter Sivan was killed in the attack, told Israel Radio on Sunday that he had been informed by the Israeli embassy in Jordan last week that Daqamseh’s release was imminent.
“It is unfortunate, but this is the situation,” Fatihi said of the Jordanian government’s decision.
Fatihi recalled King Hussein’s condolence visit, saying he and his family had been sitting on the floor in mourning at the time and the monarch knelt down next to them.
“We told him we really appreciated his visit,” Fatihi said.
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Daqamseh was hospitalised in 2014 after he went on a five-day hunger strike to demand his release.
His strike followed Jordanian lawmakers demanding he be freed after Israeli soldiers killed a Jordanian judge in a scuffle at the Allenby Bridge border crossing with the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Source: News agencies