British tourist killed in Amman gun attack

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A British tourist was killed in a shooting in Jordan today, the country's Interior Minister said.

The man was one of a group of foreign tourists gunned down at a Roman amphitheatre in the Jordanian capital Amman.

Interior Minister Eid al-Fayez said two British women were among those wounded when a gunman opened fire at the site.

A Dutch man, an Australian woman, a woman from New Zealand and a Jordanian police officer were also injured in the shooting.

The gunman, who an eyewitness described as clean-shaven and in his mid-30s, shouted Allah akbar - God is Great - before opening fire. He was arrested by police at the scene.

Mohammad Jawad Ali said he had spoken to one of the injured tourists, a New Zealand woman, who said the man who died was British.

The wounded victims were taken to a nearby state hospital.

The Foreign Office said it was "urgently" looking into the reports but could not yet confirm what had happened.

Consular officials in Amman were on their way to the scene, the British Embassy in the capital said.

The tourists were shot in broad daylight at the Roman amphitheatre, one of Amman's most popular visitor attractions.

Last year around 57,000 British tourists visited Jordan, which has a wealth of archaeological sites, including the world-famous ruins at Petra, south of the capital.

But the Foreign Office warns there is a high risk of terrorism in the pro-Western country, with British visitors in danger of being targeted.

Last November, three suicide bombers killed 60 people and injured nearly 100 at the Radisson SAS, Days Inn and Grand Hyatt hotels in Amman.

No British people were injured in those atrocities, but Jordanian authorities have foiled other attempted terrorist attacks.

On March 1 this year, authorities seized explosives and arrested three individuals suspected of planning to carry out an attack in Amman.

In 2004, officials arrested a number of suspects and seized vehicles, explosives and chemical substances which they claimed would be used for terrorism in Jordan.

Speaking at the scene of today's shooting, the Interior Minister said: "This is a cowardly terrorist attack, which we regret took place on Jordanian soil.

"This operation is considered a terrorist act unless the man is found to be deranged."

A Foreign Office spokesman later said: "We can confirm the death of a male British national, and can confirm there are two British nationals hospitalised, receiving treatment.

"There are five further British nationals who were at the incident but were not injured, and they are receiving consular assistance from us."