Three US trainers killed by gunfire at Jordan airbase

Three US trainers killed by gunfire at Jordan airbase
The attack took place at the Al-Jafr air base located in Jordan's Ma'an governorate, over 200 kilometres south of the capital Amman.
3 min read
04 November, 2016
The United States and Jordan have close military ties [Getty]

Three US troops were killed in a shooting attack outside a Jordanian training facility on Friday, a US official said, following earlier reports that one or two US personnel were dead.

"A total of three US service members died today in the incident in Jordan," the official said. "Initial reports were that one was killed, two injured. The two injured service members were transported to a hospital in Amman, where they died."

"The service members were in vehicles approaching the gate of a Jordanian military training facility, where they came under small arms fire," the official added. "We are working with the Jordanian government to gather additional details about what happened."

The shooting took place at the gate of the Al-Jafr base when the car carrying the US trainers failed to stop. A Jordanian officer was also wounded in the incident.

"An exchange of fire occurred Friday morning at the gate of the Prince Feisal Air Base in Al-Jafr when a car carrying trainers attempted to enter the gate without heeding the guards' orders to stop," a statement said quoting a military source.

The New Arab correspondent in Jordan Muhammad Fudailat said that the US Embassy was working with Jordanian authorities in order to get to the bottom of the incident, adding that it was unclear how many American personnel – whether members of the US military or employees of independent contractors – are based at the Al-Jafr air base.

Jordan, a key US ally in the Middle East, is a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

US forces have trained a small group of vetted Syrian rebels in Jordan, and American instructors have trained Iraqi and Palestinian security forces in Jordan as well over the past few years.

Friday's incident comes almost a year after a Jordanian policeman shot dead two US instructors, a South African and two Jordanians at a police training centre east of Amman, before being gunned down.

Washington said at the time that the two Americans killed in the November 9, 2015 shooting were employees of the private firm DynCorp contracted by the State Department to train Palestinian forces.

Two other Americans were wounded in that incident which sparked concern in Washington and was condemned by the US embassy.

Last year, the United States announced its intention to increase overall US assistance to Jordan from $660 million to $1 billion annually for the 2015-2017 period.

A government source said that military training is provided at Al-Jafr air base by instructors of various nationalities, including Americans, to participants from different countries.

Agencies contributed to this report