Amman (AP) — Jordan’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday said a Jordanian lawmaker has been arrested by Israel on suspicion of smuggling weapons and gold into the occupied West Bank.
The ministry’s spokesman, Sinan Majali, said Jordanian officials are following the case “to find out the merits of the situation and address it as soon as possible.” The lawmaker was identified as Imad Al-Adwan and said to have been arrested crossing the border into the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined comment.
The incident threatens to further strain what already are tense relations between Jordan and its neighbor Israel.
The West Bank has seen a surge in violence over the past year. Israel says the area has been flooded with illegal weapons, including guns smuggled from neighboring Jordan.
Over 90 Palestinians and 18 Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year. Israel says most of the Palestinians were wanted militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting army incursions and people not involved in confrontations have also been killed. All but one of the Israelis killed were civilians.
Since Israel’s hard-line government took office, relations with Jordan have deteriorated over Israeli settlement construction, violence in the West Bank and policies over holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Jordan controlled the West Bank and east Jerusalem before Israel captured the areas in the 1967 Mideast war, but the kingdom retains custodianship of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim holy sites in the Old City.