Jordan police find suicide belts following militant raid

Jordan police find suicide belts following militant raid
2 min read
19 December, 2016
Suicide belts and other explosives were found at the scene of a deadly attack on a popular tourist site in Jordan, police said.
Jordanian troops blocked access to the popular tourist site after the attack [Anadolu]

Jordanian police said Monday they found suicide belts and other explosives in the hideout of suspected Islamic State group militants behind an attack that killed 10 people, including a Canadian tourist.

Another 34 people were wounded in Sunday's shooting spree, including a second Canadian. Four gunmen were shot dead by police during the course of a siege lasting several hours.

The attack took place in Karak, a tourist destination known for one of the region's biggest Crusader castles, around 120 kilometres south of the capital Amman.

There was talk that the attack could have been related to a dispute following the arrest of a local man, but the presence of the explosives rules out this theory.

Police said they suspected IS militants were behind the attack.

"The four dead militants are Jordanian members of a terrorist cell suspected of belonging to IS," a security source told AFP.

It was unclear whether any militants were still at large.

Prime Minister Hani al-Malki, who was addressing parliament at the time of the shootings, had spoken of as many as 10 gunmen.

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Jordanian troops with armoured vehicles blocked access to the popular tourist site after the attack, which is expected to further harm the country’s battered tourism industry.

Jordan is a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting IS militants in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

It has carried out airstrikes targeting IS, and also hosts coalition troops on its territory.

Moaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian fighter pilot, was captured by the extremists when his plane went down in Syria in December 2014, and he was later burned alive in a cage.

Karak is Kassasbeh's hometown.

In June, a suicide bombing claimed by IS killed seven border guards near the Syrian frontier.

According to sources close to Islamists, almost 4,000 Jordanians have joined extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, and an estimated 420 have been killed since 2011.