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Three US trainers shot dead at Jordanian air force base

A Jordanian officer also injured in incident at Al-Jafr air base in which army said the Americans' car failed to heed orders to stop
American soldiers take part in Operation Eager Lion in Jordan in May 2016 (US Defense Department)

Three US trainers were killed in an exchange of fire on Friday at a Jordanian air force base, the Jordanian army and a US official said.

The shooting took place at the gate of the Al-Jafr base when the car carrying the US trainers failed to stop, the army said, adding that a Jordanian officer was also wounded.

"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.

A US army official said two of the Americans who were shot at the base were transferred to hospital but died from their injuries.

"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."

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 9 November 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 US announced its intention to increase overall assistance to Jordan from $660m to $1bn annually for the 2015-2017 period.

The US is periodically involved in joint training exercises in Jordan with about 6,000 American and Jordanian military personnel taking part in Operation Eager Lion in May this year.

The US Defense Department said that the operation highlighted the "great integtration" between the US and Jordanian forces.

"As you go through these command posts you'll see Jordanian officers and [non-commissioned officers] right next to our officers and NCOs working side by side and working through tactical and operational problems," US Centcom Commander Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel said at the time.

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.