3 bodies found af­ter shootout

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

SALT: Jor­da­nian search teams pulled the bodies of three sus­pected mil­i­tants from the rub­ble of their hide­out in Salt, about 30 kilo­me­tres from Am­man, a govern­ment of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, hours af­ter as­sailants opened fire and set off ex­plo­sions that killed three mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces try­ing to storm the build­ing.

The clash late on Sat­ur­day was among the dead­li­est be­tween sus­pected mil­i­tants and Jor­da­nian se­cu­rity forces in re­cent years. It raised new con­cerns about at­tempts by do­mes­tic and for­eign mil­i­tants to carry out at­tacks and desta­bi­lize the pro-Western king­dom.

Jor­dan has played a key role in an in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary coali­tion that helped push back the ex­trem­ist group Is­lamic State (IS) in neigh­bour­ing Syria and Iraq.

The chain of events in Jor­dan be­gan Fri­day when as­sailants det­o­nated a home­made bomb un­der a po­lice car guard­ing a mu­sic fes­ti­val in the pre­dom­i­nantly Chris­tian town of Fuheis, west of the cap­i­tal of Am­man.

The blast, la­belled a ter­ror­ist at­tack by Jor­dan’s prime min­is­ter, killed a po­lice of­fi­cer.

Jor­da­nian au­thor­i­ties did not say what mo­ti­vated the Fuheis at­tack­ers, and there was no claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Se­cu­rity forces chas­ing the sus­pects ze­roed in on a multi-story build­ing in the town of Salt, near Fuheis, and at­tempted to storm it late Sat­ur­day. The sus­pects holed up in­side opened fire and set off pow­er­ful ex­plo­sions, of­fi­cials said. A wing of the build­ing col­lapsed.

In ini­tial state­ments late on Sat­ur­day, govern­ment spokes­woman Ju­mana Ghuneimat said three mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces were killed and that five sus­pects were in cus­tody.

She added that the bodies of three sus­pects were pulled out of the rub­ble yes­ter­day.

The Hala Akhbar news web­site linked to Jor­dan’s mil­i­tary said the sus­pects are Jor­da­ni­ans and that the cell had planned to at­tack se­cu­rity in­stal­la­tions and other sen­si­tive tar­gets. The site said the sus­pects had been armed with ex­plo­sives, grenades and weapons.

Jor­dan has been a tar­get for at­tacks by the IS in re­cent years.

In June 2016, a cross-bor­der car bomb­ing launched from Syria killed seven Jor­da­nian bor­der guards. In De­cem­ber 2016, a shootout at a Cru­sader cas­tle in the south­ern town of Karak left 14 peo­ple dead.

Jor­dan is con­sid­ered to an im­por­tant se­cu­rity ally, par­tic­u­larly by the United States and Is­rael which view any signs of un­rest there with con­cern.

The king­dom has cracked down on sus­pected mil­i­tants in re­cent years, im­pos­ing prison terms of sev­eral years.


Se­cu­rity forces gather near a dam­aged build­ing at the city of Salt, Jor­dan, yes­ter­day.

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