Amman – Terrorism hit on Sunday the center of Jordan’s tourism in Karak, south the country after security forces fought unknown armed groups that had attacked a security station and patrols in the city before they holed up at the Crusader-era castle where tourists were taken as hostages.
According to the last count, seven policemen, two civilians and a Canadian tourist were killed during the confrontations between policemen and the gunmen. More than 29 were hospitalized, some with serious injuries.
Security sources said the armed group included 10 men from Jordan and other Arab states. They targeted a police station in the city of Karak before heading to the nearby historic castle, where they trapped some tourists. The sources added that special Jordanian forces were capable to release a number of tourists, mostly Malaysians, who were inside the castle at the time of the shooting, and that reinforcements were sent to the city while security forces had cordoned off the area.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that at least three attacks were simultaneously launched against policemen in the city of Karak.
The first attack took place when gunmen shot at a police patrol that went to check on a fire that had broken out in a house east Karak.
The second took place when unknown gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in the center of Karak.
The third attack happened when gunmen entered the Crusader castle from where they opened fire at a nearby police station.
In a statement issued Sunday, the police said that “a number of outlaws who committed ugly crimes this afternoon” had been killed and that security forces were combing the Crusader castle for more gunmen.
Prime Minister Hani al-Malki, who was addressing parliament at the time of the shootings, said, “Special forces and policemen are surrounding 10 gunmen holed up inside the Karak citadel.”
A number of states condemned the attack.
A Saudi Foreign Ministry official source said Sunday the Kingdom strongly condemns the attack in Jordan’s Karak province.
The source reiterated the Kingdom’s support for Jordan against terrorism, offering condolences to the families of the victims, brotherly Jordan and the friendly Canadian government and people, and wished a speedy recovery for all the injured.