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Soldier who killed Israeli schoolgirls released after serving term

By Khetam Malkawi - Mar 12,2017 - Last updated at Mar 12,2017

A poster welcoming Ahmad Dagamseh is seen erected above a street in Irbid, 80km north of Amman, on Sunday, upon his release after serving 20 years in prison for killing seven Israeli schoolgirls (AFP photo by Khalil Mazraawi)

AMMAN — Ahmad Dagamseh, the soldier who killed seven Israeli girls in 1997, was released by authorities on Sunday, after serving 20 years in prison.

His cousin, Ziad Dagamseh, told The Jordan Times that the convict was released in the early hours of Sunday and was received with festivities in his hometown of Ibdar, in the northern governorate of Irbid, 80km north of Amman.

Dagamseh was serving a life sentence since March 13, 1997, after shooting dead seven Israeli schoolgirls in the Baqoura area on the Jordanian-Israeli border and injuring five others. 

The killings took place three years after Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty. His Majesty the late King Hussein visited Israel after the shooting to express his condolences to the girls’ parents.

Dagamseh, then 26, was deemed mentally unstable by a military court, but, nevertheless, was sentenced to life in prison. 

According to a security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, security reinforcements were surrounding Dagamseh’s hometown as a precautionary measure.

However, the source did not elaborate on the reason for these reinforcements, but Ziad Dagamseh speculated that they are for his cousin’s protection.

 

In his first statement since his release, Dagamseh said he would remain a “loyal Jordanian citizen”, and wanted to live in peace with his family, according to the relative.

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