Jordan vows revenge as suicide bombing kills six
Amman // King Abdullah II says Jordan will “respond with an iron fist” after a suicide attacker ploughed a car bomb through the border from Syria, killing six security forces.
Jordan sealed the border areas, raising concerns over how aid would reach 64,000 Syrian refugees stranded on the other side.
The early morning attack was the latest by extremists against the kingdom, where authorities are struggling to cope with the overspill from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
The attack took place in Al Rukbam, a remote desert border crossing where the Jordanian military process refugees trying to cross into the kingdom.
The vehicle filled with explosives sped from the refugee camp on the Syrian side, through a gap in the large sand berm marking the border and into the military compound, where the driver set off the explosives, the Jordanian armed forces said.
Soldiers fired on the car as it sped through the gap, which is used as a supply route for aid to the refugee camp. Fourteen security forces were injured and flown to a hospital in Amman.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which was the third against Jordanian security bases in seven months. The other two targeted compounds inside Jordan.
The army described the attack as “criminal and cowardly”, adding that it would only “increase our determination to fight terrorists and terrorism and their dark ideology, regardless of the motives behind these criminal acts”.
“It was a truck driven at very fast speed and it reached our side of the border and ended up exploding with the driver inside,” said Mohammed Momani, a government spokesman
Mashal Al Zaben, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said the country’s northern borders had been declared closed military zones and that vehicles and people who entered would be considered hostile targets.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have crowded in recent months at a camp next to the border, where the attack took place.
Relatively few have been allowed into Jordan because of security fears, as some had fled from ISIL-controlled areas.
On Sunday, the army admitted 231 refugees.
Jordanian authorities have been increasingly concerned about attacks by terrorists during Ramadan, when ISIL encourages more bloodshed.
On the first day of Ramadan, a gunman killed five intelligence officers in an attack on their base on the outskirts of the Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp.
Military analysts said ISIL was trying to strike outside of its territory to deflect attention from battlefield losses.
“As pressure increases on Daesh in its strongholds of Falluhah and Raqqa it resorts to its old style attacks, whether they are lone acts or suicide bombs in order to compensate for the losses it incurred,” said Mahmoud Irdaisat, a retired major general.
“Those attacks are expected on Jordan and other countries.”
Jordan takes pride in the competence of its security and intelligence services, which it says have thwarted repeated attempts by extremists to attack local and western targets.
It credits its security agencies with ensuring the country remains stable in a tumultuous region, particularly given the war in neighbouring Syria.
Hasan Abu Hanien, an expert on extremist groups said the latest attack was a message from ISIL to Jordan.
“It is an attempt by the Islamic state that it is capable of undermining the country’s security and stability,” Mr Abu Hanien said. “It will not declare responsibility but if it does, this means it has declared a state of war.”
* With addition reporting from the Associated Press
Updated: June 21, 2016 04:00 AM