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Jordan official says 3 police killed in raid

12 August 2018

Security forces in Salt, Jordan, raiding a suspected terrorist hideout on August 11, 2018.

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

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

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's bomb blast in Al-Fuhais, a mostly Christian town, and the identities of the suspects were not known.

Security forces had seized automatic weapons in a "continuing operation", government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat told Reuters.

She said the militants were sought in connection with Friday night's bombing that killed a police sergeant and wounded six others in the town of Al-Fuhais west of Amman.

Jordan has been a target for attacks by Islamic State in recent years.

It was not clear how many militants fled into the building which is in a busy residential quarter of Salt.

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

Jordan is a close Western ally in a turbulent region, and has largely been spared from the conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The source also offered condolences and sympathies to the families of the victim as well as to the Jordanian government and people, wishing the wounded a speedy recovery.

The suspects also "blew up the building in which they were hiding, and which they had booby-trapped earlier", she said, adding that part of the building "collapsed" during the raid.

"The building in which the terrorist cell was found is about to fall and will be demolished to prevent a sudden collapse", Ghunaimat added. They had been taken overnight to a main hospital in the capital, a medical source said.

Security forces had been deployed to protect the town's annual festival, which hosts prominent Arab music acts.

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

The Hala Akhbar news website linked to Jordan's military said the suspects were Jordanian nationals and that the cell had planned to attack security installations and other crucial targets.

Intelligence officials and some experts believe widening social disparities and a perception of widespread official corruption is fuelling a rise in radicalisation among disaffected youths in a country with high unemployment and growing poverty.

Jordan official says 3 police killed in raid