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US, Jordan Seek Answers Following Deadly Shooting

  • Pamela Dockins

Police officers and security forces stand guard outside a police training center east of Amman, Nov. 9, 2015, where a Jordanian officer shot dead two U.S. soldiers and wounded two other Americans before killing himself.

Police officers and security forces stand guard outside a police training center east of Amman, Nov. 9, 2015, where a Jordanian officer shot dead two U.S. soldiers and wounded two other Americans before killing himself.

Two Americans who were among those killed at a police training facility in Jordan on Monday were monitors with DynCorp, a U.S.-based security and logistics firm that has a contract with the U.S. government.

State Department spokesman John Kirby says the Americans were among “several” people killed in the attack at the Jordan International Police Training Center near Amman. He said two other American trainers were wounded in the attack.

A Jordanian government official said a South African trainer and two Jordanians were also killed, along with the gunman who was shot by police, raising the overall death toll to at least six.

Local and international media identified the shooter as 28-year-old police Captain Anwar Abu Zeid.

Kirby said it is “premature” to speculate on a motive.

The attack coincided with the 10-year anniversary of one of the worst attacks in Jordan’s history, when suicide bombers at three hotels in Amman killed more than 50 people on Nov. 9, 2005.

Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility for the bombings.

FILE - In this 2013 photo, U.S. Special Operations forces watch forces from Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon during a multinational military exercise in Zarqa, Jordan.

FILE - In this 2013 photo, U.S. Special Operations forces watch forces from Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon during a multinational military exercise in Zarqa, Jordan.

The U.S. government has used the training center in Muwaqqer, about 30 kilometers from Amman, in cooperation with Jordan, to train tens of thousands of police cadets from the Middle East.

The program is coordinated and run through the State Department in partnership with diplomatic security.

The State Department said the training is now mostly to teach Palestinian security forces basic security skills.

The U.S. and Jordanian governments signed an agreement in 2003 establishing the facility. Using a multi-national group of experts alongside Jordanian staff, the center began training classes of would-be police officers from neighboring Iraq. The effort later included training Palestinian security forces.

Kirby said Monday’s shooting is believed to be the first of its kind in Jordan since USAID official Laurence Foley was shot to death outside of his Amman home in 2002.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who later became commander of al-Qaida in Iraq, was sentenced to death in absentia for ordering the killing. Two other men were executed in 2006 for carrying out the assassination, and a third was sentenced to death.

Zarqawi, a Jordanian, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in June 2006.

At the White House, President Barack Obama said the U.S. is taking the attack "very seriously" and that the United States will be working closely with Jordanian authorities "to determine what exactly happened."

Photos posted on social media showed Jordan's King Abdullah II visiting four of the hospitalized attack victims, who are shown shaking hands and speaking with the monarch.

VOA Correspondent Victoria Macchi and National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

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