Tuesday 21 August 2018

Jordanian troops and suspected militants dead after clash

The clash late on Saturday was among the deadliest between suspected militants and Jordanian security forces in recent years.

Jordanian security forces inspect the rubble after the side of a building collapsed (Raad Adayleh/AP)
Jordanian security forces inspect the rubble after the side of a building collapsed (Raad Adayleh/AP)

By Omar Akour, Associated Press

Jordanian search teams have pulled the bodies of three suspected militants from the rubble of their hideout, a government official said.

The search came hours after assailants opened fire and set off explosions that killed four 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 destabilise the pro-Western kingdom.

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Jordanian forces secure the area (Raad Adayleh/AP)

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

The chain of events in Jordan began on Friday when assailants detonated a home-made 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 on Saturday.

The suspects holed up inside opened fire and set off powerful explosions, officials said. A wing of the building collapsed.

In initial statements, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghuneimat said three members of the security forces were killed.

She said on Sunday that a fourth officer had died and that the bodies of three suspects were pulled from the rubble. Five suspects are in custody.

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.

Press Association

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