The Jordanian government stated that it held Israel responsible on Saturday for the killing earlier that day of a Jordanian citizen who was shot dead by a policeman he was stabbing in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani, released a statement holding that “the Israeli government, as the occupying power, bears responsibility for the shooting and killing of a Jordanian citizen in the occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday,” according to the Jordan News Agency.
The attacker, Mohammad Abdullah Salim al-Kasji, was a 57-year-old man who had entered Israel a week ago via the Jordan River crossing in Beit Shean. He held a tourist visa to the country and was reportedly travelling with a group.
The news agency added that the Jordanian “government condemned as ‘terrible’ the crime committed against the Jordanian citizen and demanded Israel to reveal the full details of the crime.”
Jordan’s foreign ministry reportedly instructed its embassy to Israel to obtain these details.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office responded harshly: “It is outrageous to hear the backing of the Jordanian government spokesman for the terrorist attack in the Old City of Jerusalem.
“A security video clearly shows a Jordanian tourist stabbing an Israeli policeman with a knife. It's time for Jordan to stop this double game. Just as Israel condemns terrorist attacks in Jordan, Jordan must condemn attacks in Israel. Terrorism is terrorism wherever it is.”
According to an initial investigation, Kasji was walking down Shalshelet Street in the Old City and noticed a policeman walking towards him. The Jordanian allegedly pulled out two knives, charged the police officer and stabbed him, moderately wounding him in his upper torso.
The attacker’s brother, Yusuf al-Kasji, said in an interview in Jordan, “This is not the first time that my brother has travelled to Jerusalem via the Israeli embassy for tourism.” He said that he had heard about the incident on television and added: "We want the Jordanian authorities and the Jordanian foreign ministry to hand over his body to bury him.
“The Jordanian foreign ministry, Jordan and Israel are the ones who have to investigate what happened. We don’t know anything about what happened, and we don’t know his political inclinations. He never talked about that.”
The Israel Police released a statement announcing that the officer had responded with determination and professionalism while wounded and had managed to shoot the assailant.
The commander of the Israel Police’s Jerusalem District, Deputy Commissioner Yoram Halevy, visited the 37-year-old police officer, who has only been identified as 1st Sgt. N., at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
“We are very proud of you, proud of what you did and of how you reacted,” Halevy said. “In the end we save lives, save civilians. You knew to respond correctly, and you were in the right place.
“I personally am proud of you, and your commanders and all of us in Jerusalem are proud of you. We know exactly what was there. We understand everything, and your response was excellent, professional, correct and safe.”
N. responded from his hospital bed, “You have no other choice. You have to fight to save civilians and your life. I tried to do everything for my family.”