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Foreign trainers killed in shooting attack at police training camp in Jordan

Jordanian police officer fired shots at the training camp east of Amman, killing 5 people, including 2 Americans, a South African and 2 Jordanians
The camp is used to train police officers from Iraq, Palestine and Libya (AFP)

A Jordanian policeman shot dead two US instructors, a South African and two fellow Jordanians at a police training centre Monday before being gunned down, officials said.

Government spokesman Mohammed Momani said the shooter also wounded two American instructors, four Jordanians and a Lebanese in the attack at the Jordanian International Police Training Centre (JIPTC).

The assailant was shot dead by colleagues at the centre in Al-Muwaqqar, 30 kilometres (20 miles) east of Amman, Momani, who is also information minister, said in statements carried by state news agency Petra.

An investigation is now under way, he added.

Earlier in the day, a security source told Sky News Arabia that the shooter, a Jordanian police officer, committed suicide following the outbreak of gunfire, suggesting that the incident may have been intentional.

However, details were sketchy amid conflicting statements from Jordanian officials.

A government-run newspaper, al-Rai, quoted sources who named the suspect as Anwar Bani Abdo, a veteran police captain who had previously served with the criminal investigation unit and the security forces before being transferred to the camp for further training.

ِAccording to the source, the captain had asked to be exempted from service a few weeks prior to the shooting, although no further details were given.

The newspaper also gave details of the man's family life and named the small town where the suspect reportedly lived.

Washington said the two Americans killed were employees of the private firm DynCorp contracted by the State Department.

"We can confirm that two US trainers were killed and two wounded in an incident today at the Jordan International Police Training Center," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

He warned that the final death toll could rise.

Monday's shooting, which occurred on the 10th anniversary of three co-ordinated al-Qaeda attacks that targeted hotels in Amman, happened at a training centre in Muaqar on the eastern outskirts of the capital.

The camp is a US-funded facility that has been used to train Palestinian security forces working with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

From its inauguration in 2003 until 2005 the camp was used to train upwards of 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers.

The camp has also been used to train Libyan operatives. In 2012 Libyans who were part of a group of 1,200 trainees broke windows and uprooted trees at the camp in protest at conditions, which included not being allowed to leave the complex without special written permission.

In 2014 the facility was chosen as the site for a new training programme for the Iraqi special forces, with a US source saying that Jordan was chosen as a location for the programme due to it being close to Iraq, as well as existing legal agreements allowing US programmes to operate there.

The same source said up to 1,000 US operatives were present in Jordan, most of them members of the naval infantry brigades specialising in anti-terrorism and urban warfare.