Jordan Arrests 17 Suspected of Plotting Terror Attacks

Jordanian security forces are seen on December 19, 2016, during the funeral of victims who were killed a day earlier in an attack in Karak, a tourist destination. Photo: AFP

Jordan’s intelligence service said Monday it has arrested 17 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group and of planning attacks in the kingdom.

The service “foiled… a major destructive terrorist plot planned by a terrorist cell loyal to Daesh during November 2017,” it said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The group had planned to carry out “several simultaneous terrorist attacks aimed at shaking national security, creating chaos and terrifying citizens,” it said.

It did not specify the nationalities of those arrested, but said it had seized weapons and other materials that were to be used in the attacks.

The targets included “security and military bases, commercial centres, media channels and moderate clerics”, and the suspects planned to fund them by robbing banks and selling stolen cars, the statement said.

The suspects were referred to the public prosecutor and charged with planning “terrorist acts”, among other charges.

Jordan, a key U.S. ally, has used its own air force and allowed U.S.-led coalition forces to use its bases to battle ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of Jordanians are believed to be followers of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

The kingdom was hit by four attacks in 2016, including a suicide attack in June that killed seven guards near the border with Syria that was also claimed by ISIS.

In December 2016, an attack later claimed by ISIS killed seven policemen and two Jordanian civilians as well as a Canadian tourist, and wounded 34 others.