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Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli girls receives hero’s welcome after release from prison
Convicted Jordanian killer Ahmed Daqamseh, who was sent to a Jordanian prison in 1997 for the murder of seven Israeli schoolgirls, was released from prison Monday after finishing his 20-year sentence.
Though widely condemned by Jordanian citizens and government officials at the time — including then-King Hussein bin Talal, whose visit to the girls’ families and evident grief prefaced a significant improvement in Israeli-Jordanian relations in the wake of the attack — Daqamseh was lauded as a hero by extremist anti-Israeli elements of Jordanian society.
In recent years, calls for his release have intensified as Arab nationalist officials installed during the Arab Spring have taken up Daqamseh’s cause. Since 2011, the country’s former Justice Minister Hussein Mjalli and the vast majority of its Parliament have officially called for Daqamseh’s sentence to be shortened.
The Washington Post reported that Jordanian officials released Daqamseh late Saturday night in order to minimize any celebrations of his release, but hundreds of well-wishers journeyed to his family home in northern Jordan to celebrate his freedom.