Middle East

Jordan releases soldier who killed 7 Israeli girls in 1997

  • FILE - In this Sunday, March 16, 1997 file photo, King Hussein of Jordan shakes the hand of members of the Badayev family in Beit Shemesh who are in mourning after their daughter Shiri was killed by a Jordanian soldier. King Hussein came to Israel to offer condolences to the seven families who had lost their daughters in an attack on a class trip. The Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage was released Sunday, March 12, 2017, after serving 20 years in prison. (AP PHOTO/GPO/HO, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, March 16, 1997 file photo, King Hussein of Jordan shakes the hand of members of the Badayev family in Beit Shemesh who are in mourning after their daughter Shiri was killed by a Jordanian soldier. King Hussein came to Israel to offer condolences to the seven families who had lost their daughters in an attack on a class trip. The Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage was released Sunday, March 12, 2017, after serving 20 years in prison. (AP PHOTO/GPO/HO, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Mother of Jordanian soldier Ahmad Daqamseh, who was convicted of killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in March 13, 1997, speaks to the media after the release of her son from prison, at her home in the village of Ibdir, Jordan,  March 12, 2017. Daqamseh who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage has been released after serving 20 years in prison. He had opened fire on the eighth graders while they were on a class trip to the scenic "Island of Peace" border post. A Jordanian court later deemed Daqamseh mentally unstable, sparing him from the death penalty. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)

    Mother of Jordanian soldier Ahmad Daqamseh, who was convicted of killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in March 13, 1997, speaks to the media after the release of her son from prison, at her home in the village of Ibdir, Jordan, March 12, 2017. Daqamseh who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage has been released after serving 20 years in prison. He had opened fire on the eighth graders while they were on a class trip to the scenic "Island of Peace" border post. A Jordanian court later deemed Daqamseh mentally unstable, sparing him from the death penalty. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)  (The Associated Press)

  • The mother of Jordanian soldier Ahmad Daqamseh, left, who was convicted of killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in March 13, 1997, speaks to the media after the release of her son from prison, at her home in the village of Ibdir, Jordan,  March 12, 2017. Daqamseh who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage has been released after serving 20 years in prison. He had opened fire on the eighth graders while they were on a class trip to the scenic "Island of Peace" border post. A Jordanian court later deemed Daqamseh mentally unstable, sparing him from the death penalty. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)

    The mother of Jordanian soldier Ahmad Daqamseh, left, who was convicted of killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in March 13, 1997, speaks to the media after the release of her son from prison, at her home in the village of Ibdir, Jordan, March 12, 2017. Daqamseh who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in a 1997 shooting rampage has been released after serving 20 years in prison. He had opened fire on the eighth graders while they were on a class trip to the scenic "Island of Peace" border post. A Jordanian court later deemed Daqamseh mentally unstable, sparing him from the death penalty. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)  (The Associated Press)

A military spokesman says Jordan released a soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls during a class trip to his country in 1997.

Spokesman Amer Sartawi says Ahmed Daqamseh was released early Sunday, after serving 20 years in prison. Daqamseh had killed the girls in a shooting rampage at the "Island of Peace" border post.

A military court deemed him mentally unstable at the time and sentenced him to life in prison, which in Jordan typically means 25 years. Jordanian lawmakers lobbied for his early release.

King Hussein, Jordan's ruler in 1997, paid a rare visit to Israel after the shooting to express his condolences to the girls' parents.

The shooting came three years after Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty.