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Jordanian soldier charged with killing 3 US soldiers

ATLANTA — The government of Jordan has formally charged one of its soldiers with murder over his alleged involvement in an attack last year on a military convoy that killed three US service members, a Jordanian government official told CNN.

“He is being officially charged with murder with intent to kill,” the official said.

The official, who could not speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the issue, did not identify the soldier.

Three US Army Special Forces soldiers were shot at the King Faisal Air Base in Jordan during the incident on November 4. There was an intense firefight between a Jordanian guard, who wore body armor and carried an M-16 rifle, and the US soldiers, equipped only with sidearms.

Army Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe was killed instantly and Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen was mortally wounded when the guard opened fire on the soldiers’ vehicle while it was stopped at the base’s gate. The third man, Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, suffered a mortal wound after firing his pistol at the Jordanian guard.

‘Valorous conduct and extraordinary heroism’

In March, the US military determined that the three men followed proper procedures during the incident, despite initial Jordanian media claims to the contrary.

A US Special Operations Command investigation into the shooting found the US forces “demonstrated valorous conduct and extraordinary heroism” after coming under fire from a Jordanian guard, according to a redacted copy of the report.

“There is no evidence that US forces failed to fully comply with Jordanian Base entrance procedures,” the report said.

Jordanian state media initially blamed the incident on the soldiers’ failure to adhere to proper procedures at the base’s entrance, though US officials disputed that at the time.

Investigators said they were able to obtain video surveillance footage of the event, allowing for a very detailed examination.

The report details the firefight between the Jordanian and the US soldiers.

The men were part of a training mission in Jordan, and because of the lack of perceived threat and that country’s status as an American ally, the US service members were traveling in unarmored vehicles, not wearing body armor and only carrying sidearms. The report recommends US forces in the future use armored vehicles and carry at least one rifle with them.