8 tourists stabbed in Jordan knife attack
AMMAN (AP) — A young man from a Palestinian refugee camp on Wednesday stabbed eight people, including four foreign tourists and their tour guide, at a popular archaeological site in northern Jordan, security officials said.
The suspect’s family identified him as Mustafa Abu Tuameh. They said the 22-year-old was not a member of an organized militant group and believed he had acted alone. But they said he had recently become very religious, was very poor and apparently planned to die during his attack.
“Today he told his mother that he has only 35 piasters (50 cents) and he was going out and might not come back,” said an uncle, Younis Abu Amrah.
The incident in Jerash, one of the country’s most visited destinations, threatened to cast a shadow over the vital tourism industry.
The wounded included three
Mexican tourists and a Swiss woman, according to Jordan’s Public Security office. Along with the tour guide, three other Jordanians, including two security officers and a bus driver, were also hurt before the attacker was subdued and arrested.
The office said two people, a Mexican woman and a Jordanian security officer, were in serious condition and airlifted to a hospital in the capital, Amman, by helicopter. Jerash is roughly 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital.
Brent Pelkey, an American tourist who witnessed the stabbing, said the attack came out of nowhere on what appeared to be a normal day.
“I look ahead and I see a guy in a black suit running toward a group of tourists and he doesn’t look like he has the best of intentions,” Pelkey said. “Next thing I see is some tourists running around, some screaming, and the next thing I see is a few on the ground.”
He said he saw a woman bleeding “profusely” from the side of her body. He moved closer and said he saw three other people bleeding on the ground “and obviously in some pretty serious pain” and then another person who looked like a park worker or guide also down.
Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, said he called his Swiss counterpart and Mexico’s deputy foreign minister to tell them the kingdom was providing medical treatment to those “injured in the horrible stabbing crime.” He said he assured them that the investigation was underway.
Later Wednesday, Jordan’s health minister said all of the wounded were in stable condition, and none had life-threatening injuries.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, tweeted: “The Jordanian government has supported us throughout this.”
A Mexican woman, wounded during a knife attack at the famed archeological site of Jerash in northern Jordan, is pictured in the Jerash Government Hospital, Wednesday.