Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat – In a preemptive move, the Jordanian government has asked Iraq to submit the names of all its citizens wishing to travel to Jordan prior to their visit and requested additional proof be provided to ensure their travel documents are valid and genuine to avoid forged passports being used.
The government has sought to increase border controls with Iraq in the wake of the rocket attacks on the Red Sea port of Aqaba and ensure no militants slip into Jordan using fake documents, given alleged Iraqi involvement in the bombings and the production of the explosives.
Previously, Amman had adopted a number of measures aimed at facilitating the entry of Iraqi citizens into Jordan , based on the recommendations of King Abdullah.
A senior security source revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that hundreds of Iraqis try and cross the border into Jordan using forged documents but most are apprehended by the Jordanian border patrols who forcibly return them to the Iraqi side.
At the Karama crossing, on a daily basis, Jordanian security forces discover between 100 and 130 fake documents held by individuals trying to enter its territories. The source added. The government has doubled the number of police officers assigned to control the border to verify the authenticity and validity of all passports used by Iraqis.
Meanwhile, the government announced a ban on the import of scrap metal from Iraq until further notice and the deployment of extra patrols at the Karamah border crossing.
These latest decisions come after initial investigations by Jordanian security forces revealed that the rockets launched from a warehouse in Aqaba were made in Iraq and entered Jordan with other metal imports, which include old military hardware used by the defunct Iraqi Army that is exported from the Jordanian port.
As a result, the government has declared a state of high alert along its border with Iraq to avoid the smuggling of military equipment through its soil. Amongst the measures adopted are increasing land and air patrols, building sand barriers, and establishing checkpoints in the areas close to the border with Iraq to minimize unauthorized movements of people and goods.
In recent weeks, the border police had started using X-ray machines to search all the commodities imported from Iraq under the supervision of the Jordanian nuclear authorities.