US disputes Jordan's claim that Americans caused shooting



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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The U.S. Embassy in Jordan on Thursday disputed Amman's claim that U.S. trainers sparked a deadly shooting incident at a Jordanian military base this month by disobeying orders from Jordanian soldiers. The shooting killed three Americans.

The three slain Americans were assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They were identified as 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, of Lawrence, Kansas; 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe of Tucson, Arizona; and 27-year-old Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty of Kerrville, Texas.

They died after the convoy they were in came under fire as it entered the al-Jafr air base in southern Jordan on Nov. 4. The Americans were in Jordan on a training mission.

Embassy spokesman Eric Barbee told The Associated Press on Thursday that U.S. investigators are considering all possible motives and "have not yet ruled out terrorism."

After the shooting, Jordan's state news agency Petra reported that the slain American military trainers had disobeyed direct orders from Jordanian troops, which led to a deadly exchange of small-arms fire.

Barbee said there's "absolutely no credible evidence" for the claim. Jordan later issued a different statement removing the claim.

A fourth American soldier was wounded in the incident, as well as the Jordanian soldier who opened fire and has not yet been identified.

Brett McGurk, the White House envoy to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group, said Jordan's King Abdullah II expressed condolences over the deaths of the Americans.

McGurk also said an investigation is ongoing and praised Jordan's role in the fight against IS, which holds territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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