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Thu 17 Jul 2008 10:25 AM

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Six tourists wounded in Jordan gun attack

Tourists injured after gunman opens fire on their bus in Amman, fourth attack in two years.

Six tourists in Jordan were wounded after a gunman opened fire on their bus in the capital Amman, a government spokesman told newswire AFP.

Those wounded, four Lebanese nationals, a Palestinian and a Jordanian, had not been seriously hurt and were receiving treatment, said government spokesman and Information Minister Nasser Jawdeh. The alleged attacker tried to commit suicide, Jawdeh added.

"He was seriously wounded and is receiving treatment," he said.

Witnesses told AFP that an individual began shooting at the bus near the Roman amphitheatre in the city centre at around 11:00 pm.

They said the attacker did not have a beard and did not appear to be an Islamic militant. He shot himself in the head when police tried to arrest him.

After the attack, police immediately sealed off the area. Police also stopped journalists from approaching the Al-Bashir hospital in the east of the city, where the wounded were being treated.

Jawdeh insisted that the attack had been an isolated incident and played down any suggestion of a political element.

At the time of the attack, tourists were arriving to attend an evening of music at the amphitheatre, said witnesses.

The event was part of the Festival of Jordan, which has been surrounded by controversy.

A group of 14 Jordanian trade unions called for Arab and Jordanian singers to boycott the festival, saying the French company Publicis that organised it had also worked on the celebrations for Israel's 60th anniversary earlier this year.

Both Publicis and the Jordanian government have denied the accusation. It is the fourth attack on tourists in Jordan in the last two years.

In September 2006, a Briton was killed and five other tourists wounded in an attack by the Roman amphitheatre, and three months later a Dutch tourist was wounded.

In March 2008 a German tourist was wounded in an attack while he was walking in the centre of Amman.