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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 22:19 GMT 23:19 UK
Gunman fires on Jordan tourists
Jordanian anti-terrorist police at the scene of the shooting in Amman
Police sealed off the area around the Roman amphitheatre in Amman
A gunman has opened fire on a group of foreign tourists in the Jordanian capital Amman, killing a British man.

The shooting happened at the Roman amphitheatre, a popular attraction.

Five other tourists were injured - two British women as well as tourists from New Zealand, the Netherlands and Australia. The gunman was arrested.

Militants have carried out a series of attacks in Jordan. Sixty people were killed in three suicide bomb attacks on hotels in November 2005.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Amman says this attack right in the busiest part of the city centre is yet more evidence that Jordan is not immune to the turbulence sweeping the Middle East.

'Individual act'

Interior Minister Eid al-Fayez said the gunman was now being questioned.

"We as a government and people... regret the incident and hope it is a one-off which will not affect our tourism or security situation," Mr Fayez said.

Jordan map

A government spokesman Nasser Judeh said it appeared the attack was an "individual act" and that the gunmen had "no links with domestic or foreign" terrorist groups, the Associated Press reported.

The man has been named as Nabil Ahmed Issa Jaourah, 38, who officials say comes from a village just outside Zarqa, a centre for Islamic militants, from where the killed al-Qaida in Iraq leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hailed.

'Bleeding all over'

The attack took place at 1230 local time (0930 GMT).

Eyewitnesses said the attacker, said to be a Jordanian, approached the tourists shouting "God is great" in Arabic before firing at least 12 shots at the small group of tourists.

When his ammunition ran out, the gunman fled into the crowds before being arrested, eyewitnesses said.

Briton Karen Sparke, who survived the attack, told the BBC that when she heard the gunfire she initially thought a firecracker had been let off.

She then turned around and saw a man pointing a gun at the group.

"I don't remember much about it," she said. "Just that I was shot and as I looked my other friends were on the floor laying down, and then I went up the steps a bit further and stood round the corner and then realised that I was bleeding all over."

As well as the tourists, a member of the local tourist police was injured.

'Callous'

UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said she was "extremely saddened" by news of the attack.

"My sympathies are with the victims and their families. Acts of violence such as this are as senseless as they are callous," she said.

The BBC's Jon Leyne says local people joined in the struggle to overpower the gunman.

The area surrounding the Roman amphitheatre has been sealed off and anti-terrorist police are patrolling the site.

British tourists visiting Jordan are warned by the UK Foreign Office of a "high threat of terrorism", with Westerners being a particular target.

Jordan's tourist trade has been badly hit by reaction to the conflict in Lebanon, although tour operators say it remains popular with more adventurous travellers.

The amphitheatre, cut into a steep hill in the centre of Amman, is the Jordanian capital's top tourist attraction.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Survivor describes what happened




SEE ALSO
UK tourist speaks of gun terror
05 Sep 06 |  Middle East
Q&A: Jordan gun attack
05 Sep 06 |  Middle East
Jordan's king fears for Mid-East
08 Aug 06 |  Middle East
Death urged for Jordan 'bomber'
09 Jul 06 |  Middle East
Jordan to probe MPs over Zarqawi
12 Jun 06 |  Middle East
Ambivalence in Zarqawi hometown
08 Jun 06 |  Middle East
Country profile: Jordan
29 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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