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Jordan says to bar Israel envoy until shooting probed

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Amman (AFP)

Jordan will not allow the return of Israel's ambassador until the shooting of two Jordanians by an embassy security guard has been properly investigated, a government official said on Friday.

"Jordan will not allow ambassador Einat Shlein or the rest of the embassy staff to return until a thorough investigation has been opened" into Sunday's shooting, the official said.

On Thursday, King Abdullah II called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to try the guard, who travelled home on Monday night with other embassy officials after being briefly questioned by Jordanian investigators.

The guard was welcomed home and greeted as a hero by Netanyahu, who embraced him and said: "You acted well, calmly and we also had an obligation to get you out."

Israel maintained the guard had diplomatic immunity.

The Israeli foreign ministry said the security guard shot dead a Jordanian worker who had come to an apartment to install furniture and had stabbed him in the back with a screwdriver.

A second Jordanian, the landlord of the apartment, was also killed -- apparently by accident. He was buried on Thursday in Madaba, southwest of the capital.

Jordan's public prosecutor Akram Musaid charged on Thursday that the guard was responsible for the killings and possession of a firearm without a licence.

Tensions in the region have been high over the past two weeks after Israel introduced new security measures at the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. The last of them were removed on Thursday.

Jordan is the official custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

It is also one of only two Arab governments that have signed a peace treaty with Israel and established full diplomatic relations.

mesh/kir/dr

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