Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for August 5, 2017

Newsline: Israel launches preliminary investigation of Amman embassy shootings

Israel said it would conduct a preliminary investigation into the July 23 shooting to death of two Jordanians by a guard at its Amman embassy who the kingdom says should face criminal prosecution. Citing the guard’s diplomatic immunity, Israel repatriated him and other embassy staff after the incident, which stirred up anger in Jordan, where the 1994 peace deal between the countries is unpopular and pro-Palestinian sentiment widespread. Israel says the guard fired in self-defense after being stabbed by screwdriver-wielding Jordanian workman, who was killed along with a Jordanian bystander hit by stray gunfire. Jordanian authorities initially said there had been an altercation before the shooting, but later described the incident as a double homicide and demanded Israel put the guard on trial. Israel’s attorney-general on Friday ordered police to “look into” the shootings, the justice ministry said in a statement, using terminology signifying a preliminary probe that could be upgraded into a criminal investigation if warranted. Jordan reacted positively to the Israeli moves but said it expected further “tangible judicial” moves to follow. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under pressure at home for his handling of a surge in Palestinian unrest around a contested Jerusalem holy site, gave the guard a hero’s welcome. That infuriated Amman, prompting U.S. crisis mediation. Israel has tried to keep the guard’s identity under wraps, saying he could be targeted for reprisals. But a Jordanian newspaper published his diplomatic accreditation, including his name and photograph. Israeli officials have said that, as well as the probe into the shootings, they are considering offering compensation to the family of the slain Jordanian bystander – the owner of a property rented out to the embassy.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-jordan-idUSKBN1AK206

Newsline: Canberra man allegedly broke into Russian embassy to steal bike

A Canberra man has been remanded in custody after allegedly breaking into the grounds of the Russian embassy in an attempt to steal a BMX bike. Luke Gray, 26, of Griffith was arrested about 6:00am on Saturday with bolt cutters and a screwdriver in his bag. Prosecutors said he entered the secure embassy grounds and tried to steal a child’s BMX bike. He has been charged with burglary, attempted theft, and being equipped with articles for intent to commit a theft. In the ACT Magistrates Court prosecutors said Gray was high on methamphetamine at the time of the break-in. Gray was crying and agitated during his brief appearance, and said he could not remember making his way to the embassy. He was remanded in custody and will appear again in court on Tuesday.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-05/man-allegedly-broke-into-russian-embassy-to-steal-bmx-bike/8777568