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PA Demands International Probe into Jordanian Border Shooting

Palestinian Authority reacts angrily after former PA resident shot dead in an attack on IDF border guards.
By AFP and Ari Soffer
First Publish: 3/10/2014, 4:05 PM

IDF soldiers
IDF soldiers
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority has reacted angrily to the death of a Palestinian Arab man who was shot as he attacked IDF soldiers along Israel's border with Jordan, as more information emerges about the attacker, named this morning as 38-year-old Raed Zeiter.

Zeiter, who was born in Shechem (Nablus), held Jordanian citizenship, and worked as a judge in a Magistrates Court in Amman, according to the Jordanian Justice Ministry.

Witnesses told AFP he had left for Judea and Samaria on Monday - his first trip since leaving in 2011, according to Palestinian Authority sources. He was shot dead after attempting to snatch a weapon from an Israeli soldiers on Allenby Bridge at the Israel-Jordan border.    

"A short while ago a Palestinian attempted to seize the weapon of a soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan. In response the forces at the scene opened fire towards the suspect. A hit was identified," an Israeli military statement said.

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority condemned the incident and demanded an international investigation into the circumstances of Zeiter's death.  

"The Palestinian government vigorously condemns the shooting at close range of Judge Raed Zeiter... while he was coming in from Jordan," it said. It also called for the establishment of a "international investigative committee to probe this incident."   

Nazmi Muhanna, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of border crossings, told AFP they were questioning around 50 people who had been with Zeiter on the bus that ferries travelers from the Jordanian side to the Israeli side of the crossing.  

"We are investigating with all the witnesses who were on the same bus. We will verify everything," he said. "There are no surveillance cameras there so we cannot get to the truth without the witnesses who were on that bus."

Muhanna said they were waiting to hear from Zeiter's family whether they wanted to bury him in Amman or Shechem.    

Earlier, family members in Amman expressed shock over his death.    

"We did not know that Raed was in the West Bank. I went to the court to check if he was working and I was told that he did not go to work today," said his 70-year-old father, Alaa Zeiter, himself a former judge.  

"My son is peaceful and professional. I am shocked," he told AFP by phone, before breaking down in tears.    

The shooting was a rare incident of violence at the crossing, which is located in the Jordan Valley, just east of the Palestinian Authority-controlled oasis town of Jericho.    

The crossing, which lies 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Amman, is also known as the King Hussein Bridge.  

The terminal was closed after the incident but reopened later, an Israeli official said.