Three members of Jordan's security forces killed in raid on 'terrorist' cell

Sergio Conner
August 12, 2018

The Jordanian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the blast hit a security patrol in the Christian-majority town of al-Fuheis, located 20 kilometers northwest of Amman, on Friday evening.

Three members of the Jordanian security forces and three suspected militants have been killed during a counterterrorism operation in the west of the country.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on the van in Fuhais in which one policeman was killed and six others were injured.

King Abdullah, a Middle East ally of Western powers against Islamist militancy who has also safeguarded Jordan's peace treaty with Israel, has been among the most vocal leaders in the region in warning of threats posed by radical groups. The militants fired back, setting off explosions that led to a wing of the building collapsing.

Ghuneimat initially said one officer was killed, but later updated the death toll to three.

"We have arrested two additional suspect and several weapons were seized, including machineguns", Ghunaimat told The Jordan Times Sunday. In December 2016, a shootout at a Crusader castle in the southern town of Karak left 14 people dead, including seven members of the security forces, four attackers and three civilians.

They also "blew up the building in which they were hiding, and which they had booby-trapped earlier", she added.

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

The shoot-out in the city of Salt, northwest of the Jordanian capital, Amman, came after a home-made bomb exploded on Friday under a patrol vehicle at a music festival, killing one security force member and wounding six.

The minister added that a special team demolished the remaining parts of the building "because it is too risky to be around it".

Ghneimat said that the security forces raided the house in Salt after receiving a tip.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz vowed that Jordan would "not be complacent in the hunt for terrorists".

The United States "strongly condemned" the attacks against Jordanian security forces in Al-Fuhais and in Salt, in a statement released Sunday by its Amman embassy.

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