King Abdullah of Jordan and his administration have vowed to rid the country of terrorists and pursue justice against all violent elements as well as individuals associated with any terror group in the country. The message was echoed after a standoff and attack that led to the deaths of at least four government soldiers.
The standoff began when terrorists detonated a homemade device planted under a police van parked near a music festival in the predominantly Christian town of Fuheis, just west of the capital Amman killing one policeman and injuring six others. A massive security operation tracked the perpetrators of the attack to a several-storied building at the hillside city of Al-Salt, about 15 minutes from Fuheis. The terrorists’ cell is said to have opened fire and set off powerful explosives, that caused the collapse of one side of the building injuring at least 20 people in the area. Once the standoff ended bodies of three suspected terrorists were removed from the wreckage, five others arrested in the building, explosives, grenades and other weapons.
Jordanian authorities are yet to release the names of the perpetrators, their agenda as well as their affiliations motivators but intelligence reports indicate that the cell is highly likely affiliated to ISIS in neighboring countries. The whole episode raises new concerns about the ability of terrorists to wreak havoc in the pro-Western kingdom. King Abdullah has been vocal on the issue, repeatedly warning regional governments of the threat posed by radical groups. Jordan also has participated in numerous international counter-terrorism operations against Islamic State fighters in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
It is quite important to note that despite the fact that the Kingdom of Jordan exists in a region marred by numerous threats from terror organizations, uprisings, and civil wars, it has managed to emerge unscathed. In addition to thwarting countless plots, the kingdom has cracked down on terrorist activity, imposing lengthy prison terms for even suspected sympathizers, as well as for those expressing support for radical Islamic ideology on social media.
Jordan (which borders both Syria and Iraq) has been offering asylum to a countless number of refugees fleeing the war in both countries and as such regardless of having excellent intelligence as well as military and security framework, it is still open to constant threats. Also, as ISIS sees its influence wane, the terrorist group will continue to carry out targeted attacks via cells located outside of its strongholds.