Oman- Jordan’s Interior Minister Salamah Hamad said on Monday that the ISIS terrorist group, that attacked a police station last Sunday in the southern city of Karak and had holed up in the Crusader castle before security forces killed four of its members, was planning wider attacks across the country.
Late on Sunday, a Jordanian joint security force said it concluded its operation after killing four terrorists who had holed up inside the Karak Castle after they opened fire on a number of public security personnel and passers-by in the southern governorate.
The minister said the group’s gunmen had stored suicide vests and other weapons that indicated they planned wider attacks.
Hamad said at least five suicide belts were found, together with an ammunition store, automatic guns and explosives in a hideout in a house in the desert town of Qatranah, 30 km northeast of Karak.
“This was a big terrorist operation but we are still in the stage of follow-up of information that relates to it,” Hamad told a news conference on Monday.
The Interior Minister said: “I don’t think the target was just Karak castle, it’s more.”
The Public Security Department (PSD) and the Gendarmerie department said seven of their personnel were killed in the attack, in addition to two civilians and a Canadian citizen, while 11 PSD personnel, 4 Gendarmerie members, 17 citizens and two foreigners were injured.
And while security sources said the four terrorists were Jordanians, Hamad refused on Monday to reveal their identity or nationality, saying investigations were continuing and disclosing details at this stage could hamper national security.
Sources close to the matter said on Monday that two of the terrorists are from Al-Qasr town, 20 km north Karak and the two others are from Al-Salt west Amman. The sources added that their ages ranged between 28 and 34. “Two of them were released from prison a while ago after being accused of joining the terrorist ISIS organization,” the sources added.
The sources also said the terrorist group had rented an apartment in Qatranah a month ago and had told neighbors that they are planning to open a café on the desert road. Instead, the group was preparing explosive belts and bombs to commit attacks during the New Year Eve celebrations in several Jordanian areas. However, Jordanian security sources could not confirm the details.
On Monday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said his country is strong and capable of eradicating terrorism and criminal gangs, and that the Kingdom, with the unity and solidarity of its people as well as the army and security personnel will confront all terrorist acts.
Speaking during a meeting for the National Policy Council, the King said Jordan would respond with an iron fist to assaults or any attempts to tamper with the Kingdom’s security and safety of its people.