Amman: The Israeli embassy in Jordan is on lockdown amid reports of gunfire. Local media reported at least two casualties following what was thought to be an attempted attack in Amman.
There was no immediate confirmation from Israeli authorities because of a gagging order imposed by the government. Reports in Jordanian media suggest two people, one Jordianian and one Israeli, were killed in a fire-fight. “Large numbers” of security personnel are said to be at the scene and the suspect’s car is being searched.
The incident comes after days of rising tensions in the region over Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at entrances to the al-Aqsa mosque, which occupies one of the holiest sites in both Islam and Judaism. Muslims call the site Haram al-Sharif while Jews consider it to be the holy Temple Mount. The detectors were installed after two Israeli policemen were shot dead by three Arab-Israeli gunmen on 14 July.
The move sparked a series of violent clashes and led Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority President, to halt security co-operation with Israel. Other regional leaders warned that the clashes in Jerusalem could spread to other parts of the Middle East.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, said: “No one can expect the Islamic world to remain unresponsive after the humiliation Muslims suffered with the restrictions at the Noble Sanctuary.”
Arab League secretary-general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said: “Jerusalem is a red line that Muslims and Arabs cannot allow to be crossed … and what is happening today is an attempt to impose a new reality on the Holy city. “The Israeli government is playing with fire and risking a major crisis with the Arab and Islamic world.” Israel has so far refused to back down over the increased security measures at the al-Aqsa mosque.
Tzachi Hanegbi, the minister for regional development and a senior member of the ruling Likud party, told Army Radio: “They will remain. The murderers will never tell us how to search the murderers. If they [Palestinians] do not want to enter the mosque, then let them not enter the mosque.”