Two US trainers shot dead, 1 American wounded in exchange of gunfire at Jordanian air force base

AMMAN (AFP) - Two US trainers were killed and a third American was wounded in an exchange of fire on Friday (Nov 4) at a Jordanian air force base, the Jordanian army said.

The shooting took place at the gate of the Al-Jafr base when the car carrying the US trainers failed to stop, the army said, adding that a Jordanian officer was also wounded.

"An exchange of fire occurred (on) Friday morning at the gate of the Prince Feisal Air Base in Al-Jafr when a car carrying trainers attempted to enter the gate without heeding the guards' orders to stop," a statement said, quoting a military source.

The army said the wounded were evacuated to hospital and that an investigation was under way to determine the causes of the shooting.

Jordan, a key US ally in the Middle East, is a member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

US forces have trained a small group of vetted Syrian rebels in Jordan, and American instructors have trained Iraqi and Palestinian security forces in Jordan as well over the past few years.

Friday's incident comes almost a year after a Jordanian policeman shot dead two US instructors, a South African and two Jordanians at a police training centre east of Amman, before being gunned down.

Washington said at the time that the two Americans killed in the November 9, 2015, shooting were employees of the private firm DynCorp contracted by the State Department to train Palestinian forces.

Two other Americans were wounded in that incident, which sparked concern in Washington and was condemned by the US embassy.

Last year, the United States announced its intention to increase overall US assistance to Jordan from US$660 million (S$913.18 million) to US$1 billion annually for the 2015-2017 period.

A government source said that military training is provided at Al-Jafr air base by instructors of various nationalities, including Americans, to participants from different countries.