The Jordanian government released new details of an attack on police forces this weekend and a subsequent operation to combat the terrorists responsible for it. While Amman’s interior minister Sameer al-Mobaideen refused to release the names of the suspects during a press conference on Monday, he said the individuals responsible subscribed to Islamic State ideology and did not appear to have foreign links.
On Friday, extremists planted a bomb under a police vehicle in the town of Fuhais, killing one policeman and wounding six other as they watched over a nearby music festival.
The next day Jordanian security forces surrounded a building in Salt, a city about 10 miles away. During the raid, a terrorist inside exploded a suicide bomb, collapsing part of the structure. A subsequent shootout left four security personnel and five terrorists dead and another 20 people injured. The government also arrested five individuals and seized a cache of automatic weapons.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II condemned the “cowardly act of terrorism” saying the government would respond with “force and determination to eradicate terrorism and its criminal gangs.” The King has long warned of security threats that Islamic State ideology poses, two other terrorist attacks in 2016 targeted both the military and civilians, killing 21 people.
Even with an influx of refugees and a long border with both Iraq and Syria, relatively few terrorists have been able to infiltrate the country. Security officials have refocused on homegrown extremism with the defeat of Islamic State in the territories it once held in neighboring countries. However, domestic issues, such as high youth unemployment and the perception of corruption, could continue to undermine the government’s efforts.