Jordan intelligence officers killed in refugee camp attack

Five people have been killed at the Baqaa camp near Amman in what the government labelled a 'terrorist attack'

Omar Akour
Baqaa refugee camp
Monday 06 June 2016 15:52 BST
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Such attacks on Jordan's security forces are rare
Such attacks on Jordan's security forces are rare (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

At least one assailant armed with automatic assault weapons has attacked a local office of Jordan's national intelligence agency, killing four guards and a receptionist in what the government called a “terrorist attack.”

Government spokesman Mohammed Momani suggested Islamic militants were involved, describing the attackers as “criminal elements who don't represent our moderate religion.”

Those involved remained at large hours after the morning attack, which came on Monday - the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the intelligence office on the edge of the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa, near the capital, Amman.

Such attacks are relatively rare in Jordan, even though the pro-Western kingdom is on the front line in the military campaign against Isis extremists who control large areas of neighbouring Syria and Iraq. The country is part of the US-led military campaign against Isis

The shooting attack took place before 7am, Mr Momani said. He added that it involved one or more attackers armed with at least one automatic weapon.

The targeted security office is a two-story building facing the Baqaa camp, which was established almost half a century ago for Palestinian refugees displaced in the conflict with Israel. The camp has a population of tens of thousands, including many Syrian refugees who have settled there since the start of the Syria conflict in 2011. A main road separates the security compound and the camp.

Several hours after the attack, the access road to the security compound was closed. Security agents were visible outside the building, including masked members of the counter-terrorism squad.

Monday's attack came three months after Jordanian special forces clashed with Isis-linked gunmen at a hideout in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid. Seven suspected Isis activists and a Jordanian officer were killed. The Isis cell had planned attacks on military and civilian targets in the kingdom, officials said.

Over the past two years, since Isis made swift land gains in Syria and Iraq, Jordan has cracked down on suspected sympathizers to prevent the extremists from recruiting inside its borders.

Several hundred Jordanians have been sentenced to prison by special military courts for expressing support for Isis on social media.

Associated Press

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