Two American contractors were shot dead yesterday (Monday) by a Jordanian police officer at a US-funded facility for training Iraqi security forces.
Two other Americans and four Jordanians were wounded at the Jordanian International Police Training Centre in the capital, Amman. One of the wounded Americans was understood to be in a critical condition last night.
The gunman, a senior co-trainer named locally as Captain Anwar Abu Ubayd, was shot dead. Jordanian officials said he had no known terrorist links, but the attack took place on the 10th anniversary of Jordan's deadliest terrorist act, when al-Qaeda bombs at three hotels in Amman killed 60 people.
President Barack Obama said that US was taking the shooting "very seriously", although Washington said it was "premature" to speculate on a motive.
The deadly incident raises concerns of a possible infiltration of the training programme by anti-American militants.
Jordan, a long-time ally of the West, has served as a secure base for training Iraqi security forces since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. In the last 18 months, the training has included on drilling Iraqi troops in how to fight Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which has seized large swathes of north and western Iraq.
The three dead trainers were all civilians on contract with the Jordanian police, officials said. The country hosts several hundred US trainers, who also advise Jordan on how to bolster its anti-terrorism defences. Palestinian security forces are also trained there.
A Jordanian official said investigators were questioning the gunman's family. "He has no ties with any terrorist organisation like Daesh," the source said, using an Arabic acronym for Isil. "The family is in shock."
Jordan has so far been largely unscathed by Isil terrorism. However, the kingdom has played an active role in the war against the jihadists, which it scaled up in February after the terror group released a video of a captured Jordanian pilot being burned to death.
The White House said it "strongly condemns" the shooting and that the US would not be deterred from working with security forces in the region.