Jordan's interior and foreign ministers unseated in cabinet reshuffle

Jordan's interior and foreign ministers unseated in cabinet reshuffle
2 min read
15 January, 2017
Jordan has sacked two leading ministers during a cabinet reshuffle following unprecedented IS militant attacks in Karak which left a number of security forces dead.
Long-serving Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh lost his job in the reshuffle [Getty]
Jordan's interior minister lost his job Sunday after criticism following a deadly militant attack late 2016, in a government reshuffle that also saw veteran Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh cast aside.

Ten people including a Canadian tourist were shot dead at the popular Jordanian tourist destination of Karak on 18 December, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, plus four more during a police raid.

Following the attack, some 50 lawmakers called for a motion to censure interior minister Salama Hammad.

Meanwhile, Jordan's police chief was also sacked following the attacks.

On Sunday Prime Minister Hani Mulqi said, in a statement from the royal palace, that Hammad was being replaced by Ghaleb Zohbi, a lawyer who had previously held the same post.

The same statement announced that Judeh - who had served as foreign minister since 2009 - was making way for Ayman Safadi, formerly an adviser to the king and deputy prime minister.

It did not say why the ministers were being replaced. It is the second reshuffle since 28 September.

Last month's attack in Karak, home to one of the region's biggest Crusader castles, killed seven policemen and two Jordanian civilians, as well as a female Canadian tourist.

Four assailants were killed by the security forces after an hours-long siege of the castle, where the suspects had fled after opening fire on police.

IS claimed responsibility on 20 December, saying four "soldiers of the caliphate" used machineguns and hand grenades in the attack.

It now appears the attacks were sparked after police investigated the sound of an explosion at the militants' apartment.

Jordan is part of the US-led military coalition against IS and has carried out air strikes targeting the extremist group.

It also hosts coalition troops on its territory.

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