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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Jordan arrests 17 as ISIL attack plot foiled

Terrorist cell carried out bank robberies and car thefts to fund operations

Jordanian air power has been instrumental in military operations against ISIL as part of the coalition of states fighting extremism in the Middle East. Petra News Agency / Reuters
Jordanian air power has been instrumental in military operations against ISIL as part of the coalition of states fighting extremism in the Middle East. Petra News Agency / Reuters

Jordan’s intelligence services said they foiled an ISIL- affiliated plot in November that included plans to carry out a series of attacks against security and military institutions, commercial centers, media stations and moderate religious figures.

“The cell planned to execute the attacks simultaneously in order to undermine the national security and spread chaos and fear among citizens,” said a statement issued by the intelligence services and published by Petra news agency.

The intelligence department arrested 17 members of the cell, confiscated their weapons and the material they planned to use to carry out their operations.

Interrogations showed that the cells had surveilled their targets and planned armed robberies on banks in Zarqa as well as car thefts in order to finance their operations. According to the intelligence service the cell had planned to manufacture explosives by using raw materials available in the local market.

All members of the cell were interrogated, referred to the public prosecutor and charged with the conspiracy to carry out terror attacks, promoting extremist ideology and selling weapons and ammunition to carry out terrorist attacks.

According to The Soufan Center, Jordan is the second Arab country after Saudi Arabia with the largest number of fighters to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIL, with 3,000 foreign fighters.

Jordan has seen a number of attempted terrorist attacks and plots inside the country and its borders.

In December 2017, ISIL claimed an attack in Karak in the south of the country, in which 10 people were killed and 34 injured.

Three Jordanian intelligence officers and two other security personnel were killed in an attack on their office on the outskirts of the Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman in June 2016. That year Jordan foiled a major terror plot in Irbid in the north of the country near the border with Syria in a raid against suspected ISIL militants who had been plotting larger attacks killing seven suspects.