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Jordan court rules out terrorism in death of 3 US troops

The file photo shows US troops in Jordan.
A court in Jordan has announced that the death of three US troops in the country was not related to terrorism.
The military court in the Jordanian capital, Amman, said on Wednesday that the defendant, 1st Sergeant Marik al-Tuwayha, committed a criminal act by opening fire at the convoy of Army Green Berets when they were entering an air base south of the country in November 2016.
Judge Mohammed al-Afif said the defendant “had no relation to any terror groups or extremist groups, and he did not have an extremist ideology,” adding that he “is a criminal but not a terrorist.”
The next session of the trial was scheduled for Sunday after the defense attorney failed to attend the court. Afif read the charges against the soldier and said a lawyer would be appointed for him if the attorney does not attend the next session.
The statement by the military court on Wednesday means that Tuwayha is spared of death penalty although he could face life in prison with hard labor.
Jordan said after the incident last year that the US troops had disobeyed the orders of the Jordanian military at the gate of the base and triggered the shooting. Officials then withdrew the claims under pressure from Washington, which maintained that terrorism could be an issue. Relatives of the slain US soldiers also had criticized Jordan’s handling of the case.
Jordan is a close ally of the United States and has been participating in coalition air strikes purportedly against Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. Amman has insisted, however, that several attacks carried out in the country over the past years had no links to terrorists and that the attackers were lone wolves with personal problems.

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