Jordan hands life sentence to soldier who killed US trainers

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UPDATE 1-Jordan hands life sentence to soldier who killed US trainers

(Adds details and background)
    BEIRUT, July 17 (Reuters) - A Jordanian military court
sentenced a soldier to life imprisonment with hard labour on
Monday for killing three U.S. military trainers at the gate of a
major air base last year, a judicial source said.
    The soldier had been charged with premeditated murder and
had pleaded not guilty, the source said.
    The incident in November had led to tensions between
Washington and its Middle Eastern ally.
    Jordanian authorities at first said the U.S. trainers had
been shot dead by the soldier when their car failed to stop at
the gate of the base. Washington rejected that account and said
it could not rule out a political motive for the killings.
    Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally, hosts several hundred U.S.
contractors in a military cooperation programme which includes
the stationing of U.S. F-16 fighter jets. They use Jordanian
airfields to hit Islamic State positions in neighbouring Syria
and to protect its borders.

 (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Gareth Jones)
 ((suleiman.al-khalidi@thomsonreuters.com; +962 79 5521407;
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