One hundred ten of 120 Jordanian MPs signed a petition this week calling for the release of Jordanian Army Corporal Ahmed Daqamseh, who murdered seven Israeli schoolgirls, and injured five others and a school teacher, on March 12, 1997 at the Island of Peace site near Naharayim.

Daqamseh opened fire on a group of 80 seventh and eight grade school girls from AMIT Fuerst School in Bet Shemesh, who were visiting the "Island of Peace," a joint Israeli-Jordanian tourist resort under Jordanian rule.

Following the massacre, the late King Hussein of Jordan apologized for the attack and traveled to Israel to pay his respects to the grieving families.

In February 2011, Jordanian Justice Minister Hussein Mjali, who previously served as Daqamseh's defense lawyer during the 1997 trial, called Daqamseh a hero and added that "if a Jew murdered Arabs, they [the Israelis] would build him a statue."

Daqamseh was sentenced by a Jordanian military tribunal to life in prison at hard labor. He was spared the death penalty because the tribunal determined he was mentally unstable.

In an interview Daqamseh gave in 2004 to Jordanian weekly a-Shahed, he expressed pride in his actions and said that "if I could return to that moment, I would behave exactly the same way. Every day that passes, I grow stronger in the belief that what I did was my duty."

Daqamseh claimed the Israeli girls interrupted his prayer by whistling and clapping. He told a-Shahed he tried to ignore the girls' behavior, but their persistence insulted and angered him. "I felt my blood boiling, so I stopped my prayer and asked my friend to leave the area. After he left, I started shooting," he said.

Daqamseh said that the massacre would have been much graver had there not been other teenagers in the area that were more polite. Despite that, it was later revealed that Daqamseh's M-16 rifle jammed, and that was what stopped the killing.

"Everything was bloody, the ground was red," Daqamseh said. He also said his commander asked him to help evacuate the wounded, which angered him.

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