In an interview on CBS's Sixty Minutes program Sunday, Jordan's King Abdullah said his country's borders were “extremely secure” and well defended against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists - even as several ISIS jihadists infiltrated the country.
“We have retaliated to several contacts over the past several months to those who have come across our borders or tried to come across our borders,” Abdullah said in the interview . “So we have been somewhat aggressive to make sure our borders are defended.”
ISIS has in the past directly threatened Jordan, including via videos showing jihadists holding Jordanian citizenship.
The takeover by the Islamists of large parts of the Middle East could have been prevented, said Abdullah, if the US and other countries had worked harder to prevent the group from being formed in the first place by interceding in Syria when the civil war there first broke out. Now, however, he said it is too late.
Jordan may be "secure," but ISIS militants have still been able to infiltrate the country.
On Sunday, Jordanian security officials arrested 11 Islamists theysaid were planning to carry out a terror attack in the kingdom. In a statement, a Jordanian official said that the detainees "admitted their links to the leadership of the ISIS organization in Syria and that they were charged with carrying out terrorist operations in Jordan targeting a number of vital interests.”
There was one positive upshot to ISIS's existence, Abdullah said; fighting it has united the various groups in Jordan, and indeed throughout the Middle East. "This brings all of us together from all religions on different sides of the divide are we going to fight the good fight," he said.
In response to a question on whether ISIS leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi is an Islamic heretic, Abdullah claimed that ISIS had nothing to do with Islam. "That he even speaks in the name of Islam for me is so horrendous and so shocking," he added.