Jordan's new Justice Minister Hussein Mjali called Israel an "enemy and terrorist state" in an interview with Jordanian Arabic-news daily. Mjali joined protests in Jordan Monday demanding the release of Ahmed al-Dagamesh, a convicted terrorist who gunned down seven Israeli schoolgirls at Naharayim in 1997. Mjali commented that "Israel arrests and practices destruction on a daily basis, and it is obvious that Israel would issue a counter-position to our request that Ahmed al-Daqamish be released." Jordan's Foreign Ministry immediately issued a statement following Mjali's comments saying that the justice minister's opinions do not represent the official government stance, and that Mjali was practicing his right to freedom of speech. Later officials informed Israel there were no plans to release Dagamesh.