7 killed in Jor­dan raid on mil­i­tant hide­out

Gulf Times - - ARAB WORLD -

Four mem­bers of the Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity forces and three “ter­ror­ists” have been killed dur­ing a raid on a mil­i­tant hide­out af­ter an of­fi­cer died in a bomb blast near the capital, the gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day.

Five sus­pects were also ar­rested dur­ing Satur­day’s raid in con­nec­tion with the home­made bomb that ex­ploded un­der a pa­trol car at a mu­sic fes­ti­val.

A joint unit of spe­cial forces, po­lice and army troops raided a house in the town of Salt north­west of Am­man in search of a sus­pected “ter­ror­ist cell”, gov­ern­ment spokes­woman Ju­mana Gh­neimat said.

She said the mil­i­tants were sought in con­nec­tion with Fri­day night’s bomb­ing that killed a po­lice sergeant and wounded six oth­ers in the town of Al-Fuhais west of Am­man.

“The sus­pects re­fused to sur­ren­der and opened heavy fire to­wards a joint se­cu­rity force,” Gh­neimat said.

They also “blew up the build­ing in which they were hid­ing, and which they had booby­trapped ear­lier”, she added.

Three mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces were killed in the shootout with the gun­men who were holed up in an apart­ment in the four-storey res­i­den­tial block in Salt, she said in a state­ment.

A fourth who was crit­i­cally wounded died of his in­juries yes­ter­day, she added.

The bod­ies of three “ter­ror­ists” as well as au­to­matic weapons were found un­der the rub­ble of the build­ing, and a to­tal of five mil­i­tants were ar­rested dur­ing the op­er­a­tion, Gh­neimat said.

Bomb blasts tar­get­ing se­cu­rity forces are rare in Jor­dan, although the king­dom bor­der­ing Syria and Iraq has had to strug­gle with a rise Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ism in re­cent years.

There was no im­me­di­ate claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for Fri­day’s bomb blast in Al-Fuhais, a mostly Christian town, and the iden­ti­ties of the sus­pects were not known.

“A clean-up op­er­a­tion is still un­der way,” Gh­neimat said, adding that units of the civil de­fence were at the scene to as­sess the dam­age at the build­ing and sift through the rub­ble.

Gh­neimat urged civil­ians to stay away, warn­ing that “it could to­tally col­lapse at any minute”.

An ex­ca­va­tor was later seen de­mol­ish­ing the struc­ture.

Med­i­cal sources said that 11 peo­ple were wounded dur­ing the raid, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces and civil­ians who were res­i­dents of the build­ing where the mil­i­tants were hid­ing.

Women and chil­dren were among those hurt, they said, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Am­bu­lances, bull­doz­ers and po­lice cars were de­ployed around the build­ing in the Naqab al-Dabour res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood in Salt, tele­vi­sion footage showed.

A se­cu­rity of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named, said that “all the ter­ror­ists who were killed or ar­rested were Jor­da­ni­ans and res­i­dents of Salt.”

King Ab­dul­lah II said the coun­try would “strike mer­ci­lessly and force­fully” against those who sought to harm the coun­try.

“This cow­ardly ter­ror­ist act, and any act that tar­gets the se­cu­rity of Jor­dan, will only add to our unity, strength and de­ter­mi­na­tion to wipe out ter­ror­ism and its crim­i­nal gangs,” he told a meet­ing of top se­cu­rity of­fi­cials.

The gov­ern­ment set up a crisis cell to fol­low the de­vel­op­ments, the state-run Pe­tra news agency re­ported.

Prime Min­is­ter Omar al-Raz­zaz, who chaired the meet­ing, vowed on Satur­day that Jor­dan would “not be com­pla­cent in the hunt for ter­ror­ists”.

Jor­dan has played a key role in the US-led coali­tion fight­ing the Is­lamic State group in Syria and Iraq, us­ing its air force against the mil­i­tants and al­low­ing coali­tion forces to use its bases.

The king­dom was hit by a string of at­tacks in 2016, in­clud­ing a shoot­ing ram­page claimed by IS that killed 10 peo­ple in­clud­ing a Cana­dian tourist in Karak, known.

The United States “strongly con­demned” the at­tacks against Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity forces in AlFuhais and in Salt, in a state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day by its Am­man em­bassy.

“The United States stands in sol­i­dar­ity with Jor­dan in the face of these ter­ror­ist ac­tions and em­pha­sises our shared re­solve to counter the plague of ter­ror­ism,” it said.

Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity forces and rel­a­tives of Sergeant Hisham Aqar­beh, a mem­ber of the anti-ter­ror­ist unit who was killed in an at­tack, at­tend his fu­neral in the town Bi­rayn, north of the capital Am­man, yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.