A Jordanian soldier jailed for life for the murder of seven Israeli schoolgirls was hospitalized Wednesday after his health deteriorated due to a hunger strike, AFP reported, citing Jordanian police.
"Ahmad Daqamseh is currently being hospitalized after his health deteriorated because he had been refusing to eat or take medicine since Friday," a statement quoted by AFP said.
"He ended his hunger strike in hospital and is currently receiving all necessary care."
In 1997, Daqamseh opened fire on a group of students who were visiting the “peace island” of Naharayim on March 13, 1997, as part of a class trip.
Naharayim is located right near the Jordanian border, and Daqamseh opened fire on the girls from the Jordanian side. He killed seven of the students, and wounded six others before being caught by Jordanian soldiers. Daqamseh was sentenced by a Jordanian military court to life in prison.
At the time, the late King Hussein cut short a visit to Europe and rushed home to condemn the attack. He later travelled to Israel and, alongside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, visited the families of the murdered schoolgirls to offer his condolences.
Daqamseh made headlines again this week when Jordanian MPs demanded he be freed in response to the killing of Jordanian Judge Raed Zeiter by IDF soldiers at the Allenby Bridge border crossing.
The government refused, and Daqamseh began his hunger strike.
IDF soldiers shot and killed the judge, 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, after he attacked a soldier and tried to grab his weapon.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later expressed regret for the shooting but stopped short of apologizing to Jordan.
President Shimon Peres on Monday issued an apology to Jordan’s King Abdullah II over the incident.
On Tuesday, Jordan’s Prime Minister, Abdullah Nsur, rejected the possibility that his country would cut ties with Israel and expel the Israeli ambassador over the killing of the judge.
Nsur told MPs the government "does not see that expelling the Israeli envoy and calling the Jordanian ambassador serve the path of our martyr’s case."
"If we go ahead with such moves, Jordan will face repercussions that would go beyond our sorrows... It will also affect Jordan's abilities concerning the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks," he added.