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US Refutes Jordan's Claim Americans Sparked Deadly Shooting

  • Associated Press

In this Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 file photo, an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, past Army Secretary Eric Fanning, center, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, third from right, and Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, right, Army vice chief of staff, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas, died of wounds sustained on Nov. 4, in Jordan.

In this Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 file photo, an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, past Army Secretary Eric Fanning, center, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, third from right, and Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, right, Army vice chief of staff, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas, died of wounds sustained on Nov. 4, in Jordan.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan on Thursday refuted Amman's claim that U.S. trainers sparked a deadly shooting incident at a Jordanian military base this month by disobeying orders from Jordanians soldiers. The shooting killed three Americans.

The three slain Americans were assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They were identified as 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, of Lawrence, Kansas; 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe of Tucson, Arizona; and 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty of Kerrville, Texas.

They died after the convoy they were in came under fire as it entered the al-Jafr air base in southern Jordan on Nov. 4. The Americans were in Jordan on a training mission.

Embassy spokesman Eric Barbee told The Associated Press on Thursday that U.S. investigators are considering all possible motives and "have not yet ruled out terrorism as a potential motive."

After the shooting, Jordan's state news agency Petra reported that the slain American military trainers had disobeyed direct orders from Jordanian troops, which led to a deadly exchange of small-arms fire.

Barbee said there's "absolutely no credible evidence" for the claim. Jordan later issued a different statement removing the claim.

Along with the three killed Americans, another American soldier was wounded, as well as the Jordanian soldier who was firing and remains unidentified.

Later, Brett McGurk, White House envoy to the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State extremists, said Jordan's King Abdullah II expressed condolences over the deaths of the Americans.

McGurk also said an investigation is ongoing and praised Jordan's role in the fight against IS, which holds territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

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