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Israeli Girls' Killer Should Have Been Shot, Hussein Says

March 21, 1997| From Associated Press

AMMAN, Jordan — The killer of seven Israeli schoolgirls should have been shot to death by his fellow soldiers as soon as he began firing, King Hussein said Thursday.

In unusually harsh words, the king wrote to security forces a week after a Jordanian soldier shot the girls on an island in the Jordan River and said the soldiers' comrades should have tried to "kill him immediately."

The gunman, Cpl. Ahmed Daqamseh, 28, has been detained for questioning. He is expected to be tried in a military court.

Officials said Daqamseh had no record of criminal or political activity. His family, however, said he is mentally unstable.

Hussein in his letter described Daqamseh as "a coward who sought to show manhood." He urged his security forces "to be vigilant, to prevent any treacherous or hateful agent from infiltrating your ranks."

Underscoring his determination to pursue peace with Israel, Hussein wrote: "We do not betray people with whom we have made peace."

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Hussein is a committed peace partner, but he has been alarmed of late by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-line policies toward the Palestinians.

In his letter, Hussein described the killings as "a mark of shame on all of us, which will be erased by our determination to ensure that it is never repeated."

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