Jordan’s military released shocking footage on Monday, showing the moment a Jordanian soldier opened fire and killed three U.S. Army Green Berets at the al-Jafr air base there in November. The video shows the three Americans throwing their hands up to surrender, as the gunman continued firing.
The six-minute silent footage from November 4, 2016 was made public a week after the shooter, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha, was sentenced to life in prison with hard labor, reports the Associated Press. The footage was also shown to the families of the American soldiers before it was released.
Tuwayha claimed he started firing because he though the base was coming under attack. However, the Jordanian military said the soldier “had acted against orders and military instructions and had not acted in self-defense.”
During his trial, he pleaded not guilty. “I have all the respect for the king, but I was doing my job,” he said in court. In Jordan, his life sentence means that he could be released in 20 years.
As the New York Times reports, Jordanian officials initially blamed the Americans for failing to stop at the gate. They also claimed that there was an accidental discharge of a weapon by the Americans that began the shooting. Both claims were later withdrawn and the video shows that these claims were not true.
The video clearly shows the gunman running towards two of the American soldiers who had tried to hide behind barriers. James R. Moriarty, Sgt. Moriarty’s father and a Houston lawyer, told the Times that the FBI briefed him on the video and told him that they believed Jordan was releasing it to stop protests of Tawayha’s sentence. After he was sentenced, there were protests among the soldier’s tribe who thought he was only convicted to please the Americans.
“Jordan tried to minimize this, saying it was the Americans’ fault, and now it has come back to haunt them,” Moriarty told the Times. Moriarty also pointed out that the video shows his son gesturing to other Jordanian soldiers who do not help them.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Moriarty said he has been trying to get the video released for six months.
The Green Berets were in al-Jafar to help train Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Jordan is considered a key ally of the U.S. in the Middle East, and President Donald Trump sent his Middle East envoy there this week for new talks.
“This video shows objectively what happened and in what sequence it happened,” Moriarty told the Houston Chronicle. “Everything the Jordanians claimed about the murder of these three boys was a falsehood.”