RUSAIFA, Jordan -- A gunman waited for his children to grow up before he opened fire on tourists in Jordan, killing one, to avenge his brothers' deaths in an Israeli strike on Lebanon in the 1980s, the Jordanian government said yesterday.
A neighbor said gunman Nabeel Ahmed Issa Jaourah may have ``hastened" because of distress at the just-ended war in Lebanon, and recent images of children killed there and in the Gaza Strip.
``The images of kids killed in Lebanon and Palestine were painful to his eyes," said a neighbor of the Palestinian refugee, known to many in his poor community as an observant Muslim but not a militant. The neighbor spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of police reprisal.
Early Monday, Jaourah, a welder, left his wife and five children in their modest brick home in this industrial town 15 miles northeast of Jordan's capital, for Amman's Roman Amphitheater, a favorite spot for Western sightseers.
Witnesses heard him shout ``Allahu akbar!" or ``God is great!" as he sprayed pistol shots at a group of foreign tourists, killing British accountant Christopher Stokes and wounding five other Westerners and a Jordanian tourist police officer before he was overpowered and arrested.
Jaourah faces the death penalty if he is convicted of charges that include use of an unlicensed weapon resulting in the death of an innocent civilian, a military prosecution official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. Jaourah should be referred to the military state security court for trial after questioning wraps up next week, the official said.
Initially, the government called the shootings a ``terror" attack, but later said the man had no terrorist links.
``The criminal said during investigations that he wanted to avenge two of his brothers, members of Palestinian organizations, who were killed in an Israeli strike on Lebanon in 1982," government spokesman Nasser Judeh said.
Judeh said the gunman waited 24 years to carry out his attack ``because he wanted to have his children grow up."