Palestinian Wounds 10 on Jordan Tour Bus
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ A Palestinian with a dagger and pistol boarded a bus carrying French tourists Monday and shot or stabbed 10 people, wounding at least one critically, police said. They said he acted to avenge a massacre in Israel.
On Monday night, police fought thousands of demonstrators marching toward the U.S. Embassy to vent their fury over Sunday’s killings of seven Palestinian laborers in Israel and subsequent violence on the West Bank and Gaza strip.
Several police were injured, at least two demonstrators arrested and dozens of shop windows shattered, but no serious casualties were reported.
The slayings set off protests in Jordan’s Palestinian refugee camps.
Jordanian authorities said nine tourists and a Jordanian tour photographer were wounded Monday in the bus rampage by Ahmad Badwan, 28, a Palestinian from the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip who carried a temporary Jordanian passport and lived in Amman.
″The motive behind the Amman shooting incident was to avenge the killing of Palestinian laborers in a Tel Aviv suburb Sunday,″ a police spokesman said but refused to elaborate.
Israeli police said the Israeli who shot seven Palestinians to death and wounded others was deranged. The shootings led to violent demonstrations in Israel’s occupied territories in which more deaths and injuries occurred.
On Monday morning, the Palestinian gunman got on the bus with 30 tourists aboard while it was parked near a popular tourist attract, the Roman amphitheater in downtown Amman. He ″threatened to shoot if anybody moved,″ said a police official, who cannot be named under standing regulations.
″The tourists were scared and many started shouting, which pushed the gunman to fire in all directions from a 7mm pistol,″ he said.
An Interior Ministry announcement said the man fired until he ran out of ammunition, then stabbed two tourists with a dagger before surrendering to police.
Police arrested the attacker amid pandemonium. Pedestrians and shopkeepers fled in panic when the gunshots rang out.
Five tourists were treated at Bashir Hospital and released. Five other victims were transferred to Hussein Medical Center for further treatment.
The hospital said 55-year-old Andre Pierro of Paris was in critical condition with gunshot wounds in his left arm and right thigh and a stab wound in the stomach.
French Ambassador Denis Bauchard said Christian Legendre, 62, of Paris, was shot in the left side of the chest and also was in critical condition.
Jordanian Marwan Al-Baba, 30, was shot in both palms. He was a photographer for the Jordanian agency that handled the tourist group.
French President Francois Mitterrand called the hospital to inquire about the victims, Jordanian officials said.
King Hussein and Crown Prince Hassan visited the wounded.
Jordanian police said they were tightening security for foreign tourists. They said police cars would escort the estimated three dozen tour buses visiting Jordanian sites.
Hussein said in a TV address he was surprised that the attack ″took place in our hospitable nation. ... It is probably related to a feeling of anger ... toward Israel and its crimes, especially for what happened yesterday.″
But he said the violence in Israel was ″not an enough excuse at all for what happened in Amman today.″
The demonstration was brewing in the streets as the king spoke.
The protesters appeared a mix of Moslem fundamentalists and Palestinian nationalists.
Some waved the the Koran, Islam’s holy book, and shouted, ″Allahu akhbar 3/8″ (God is great). Others waved black or Palestinian flags and yelled ″The U.S. is the head of the snake 3/8″ - referring to Israel.
They hurled rocks at police on the roads leading toward the embassy, wounding several.
Police used tear gas and billy clubs trying in vain to divert the demonstrators from the mixed residential and business area around the embassy.
The police and army deployed a huge force to seal off the street outside the U.S. Embassy, where 30 riot police linked arms at each of 10 roadblocks.
Frustrated demonstrators broke shop windows and traffic lights and rolled garbage cans into the street.
At least 20,000 Palestinian residents of the Baqaa Refugee Camp, 17 miles northwest of Amman, demonstrated on Monday to protest the killings in Israel.
They rolled burning tires onto the Amman-to-Damascus highway, closing it for more than four hours. Police fired tear gas inside the camp when the demonstrators started to march toward Amman.
Roughly half of Jordan’s 3.1 million people come from Palestinian families who fled or were forced from their homeland during the 1948 and the 1967 Arab- Israeli wars.