There have been celebratory scenes in Jordan after a man who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 was freed from jail.
Ahmad Daqamseh, 45, was taken to his family home in the village of Ibdir near the city of Irbid in northern Jordan where dozens of relatives and wellwishers gave him a rousing welcome. As a result, he did not face the death penalty but was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He has never shown any remorse for his actions and said during his trial he had killed them because they disturbed and mocked him as he prayed. Daqamseh was released after completing a life sentence under Jordanian law, which is equivalent to just 20 years of incarceration.
The girls were from the town of Beit Shemesh in central Israel.
Yisrael Fatihi, whose 13-year-old daughter Sivan was killed in the attack, told Israel Radio on Sunday that he had been informed by the Israeli embassy in Jordan last week that Daqamseh's release was imminent.
Daqamseh became a hero to many Jordanians and was embraced as a figurehead by a strong opposition movement led by Islamists and nationalists vehemently opposed to the country's peace treaty with Israel. "Why do we punish a soldier?"
Israeli media said Jordanian authorities chose to release Daqamseh in the middle of the night to avoid drawing large crowds and celebrations from many in the country, who hail him as a hero.
A few days after the incident, the late King Hussein personally apologised for the incident, travelling to Israel to visit and pay his respects to the girls' families. In 2011, Israel summoned Jordan's ambassador to express anger after the kingdom's justice minister at the time called for Daqamseh's release.
Daqamseh has repeatedly denied committing any crime and said that he should be freed from prison because he had simply fulfilled his national and religious duty by killing the children.
Israel's government had no comment on Sunday.