Jordan: Shot Briton's brother serving in Iraq

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The Independent Online

The parents of a tourist shot dead in Jordan by a gunman shouting "God is great" in Arabic feared at first it was their other son, currently serving with British forces in Iraq, who had died.

Christopher Stokes, 30, travelled through Turkey and Syria before arriving in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where he was shot on Monday as he visited the 2,000-year-old amphitheatre.

When police called at the family home in Littleborough in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, his parents thought that their elder son, Phil, 31, a Territorial Army sergeant, had been killed. Norma Stokes, 60, said: "It would be difficult whichever one of them it was, but I suppose you're more prepared for the fact that it might have been Phil. It's equally devastating." Sgt Stokes was returning home after being informed of his brother's death.

The dead man had given up a well-paid accountancy job to make the trip. His tour of the Middle East was to have taken him on to Egypt, his last port of call."He loved travelling because he wanted to see the world and was adventurous," said Mr Stokes's father Rod, 59. "He knew the dangers. He wasn't crazy, just adventurous."

Mr Stokes's parents, who have both preached at Smithy Bridge Methodist Church in Rochdale, were inconsolable. "At the moment I'm just overcome," said Mrs Stokes. "I'm in no doubt that within the church there will be people that will pray for us and will be praying for the man that killed Chris. But at this moment I don't know whether I will be one of them."

Nabil Ahmad Issa Jaaoura, 38, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, has been arrested in connection with the shooting, which injured six other people including two British women.

An Iraq-based Islamist group praised the gunman for shooting the tourists. In an internet message, the Mujahedin Shura Council in Iraq urged Muslim youth to imitate the gunman's actions.