Jordanian security forces killed during raid on terror cell

Three members of Jordan's security forces killed in a shootout during a raid on a terrorist cell.

Elad Benari ,


Three members of Jordan's security forces were killed in a shootout on Saturday during a raid on a "terrorist" cell, a day after an officer died in a rare bomb blast, the government spokeswoman said, according to AFP.

The shootout in the city of Salt, northwest of the capital Amman, came after a homemade bomb exploded on Friday under a patrol car at a music festival, killing one security force member and wounding six others.

The rare blast hit the security patrol in Al-Fuhais, located 12 kilometers (8 miles) west of the capital on Friday evening, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

Security forces had been deployed to protect the town's annual festival, which hosts prominent Arab music acts.

Later on Saturday, security forces raided a house in Salt in search of a suspected "terrorist cell" believed to be behind Friday's bombing, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"The suspects refused to surrender and opened heavy fire toward a joint security force," she said.

The suspects also "blew up the building in which they were hiding, and which they had booby-trapped earlier", she added. Part of the building "collapsed" during the raid.

Three members of the security forces were killed in the shootout and several others, including civilians, were wounded, said Ghneimat, who is also minister of state for media affairs.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's bomb blast and the identity of the suspects in Salt was not immediately known. However, Jordan has been targeted by several terrorist attacks in recent years, particularly since it became a leading member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

At least one hundred detainees have been sentenced to death in Jordan in recent years, many on charges related to membership in Islamist groups, who could face capital punishment.

Last year, Jordan executed 15 people, including one man who was convicted of an attack on an intelligence compound near a Palestinian “refugee camp” in which five security personnel were killed. Another five were involved in an assault by security forces on a hideout by suspected ISIS jihadists in Irbid in the same year.

Last November, a court in Amman jailed a Jordanian man for 10 years for plotting attacks on behalf of ISIS against an air base used by the coalition fighting the jihadists.

In February it was reported that Jordanian intelligence had foiled several terrorist attacks by ISIS targeting the U.S. embassy in Amman and Israeli businessmen visiting Jordan.