‘Terror attack’ kills five Jordan intelligence agents

Attack in Baqaa refugee camp has killed three officers and two employees of the intelligence department office in the area on Monday

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Three Jordanian intelligence officers and two employees were killed in an armed attack on a security office in a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Monday.

Jordanian television quoted a government spokesman saying the attack which took place in the large sprawling camp at 7 am was a "terrorist attack" but gave no details.

“This attack was obviously a deliberate attack that the group, whoever is responsible, that they are present in Jordan and are capable of carrying attacks,” Former Jordanian Minister of Information Samih al-Maaytah told Al Arabiya News Channel.

“They clearly chose to attack the intelligence group as the Jordanians are one of the best intelligence groups in the Arab world,” he added.

Maaytah also added that the attack should not be seen as a major attack as the office was administrative in nature serving Palestinian refugees.

“There is a chase currently taking place against the perpetrators of the attack. Investigations are currently taking place. It is not sure as of yet if this was the work of organized group or a lone wolf attack,” Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent Ghassan Abuloz reported.

Al Arabiya sources reported that Jordanian security forces captured two attackers a few hours after the attack.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Mohammed Momani suggested Islamic militants were involved, describing the attackers as “criminal elements who don’t represent our moderate religion.”

Those involved remained at large hours after the morning attack, which came on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the intelligence office on the edge of the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa, near the capital, Amman.

Such attacks are relatively rare in Jordan, even though the pro-Western kingdom is on the front line in the military campaign against ISIS extremists who control large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The targeted security office is a two-story building facing the Baqaa camp, which was established almost half a century ago for Palestinian refugees displaced in the conflict with Israel. The camp has a population of tens of thousands, including many Syrian refugees who have settled there since the start of the Syria conflict in 2011.

A highway separates the security compound and the camp.

Several hours after the attack, the access road to the security compound was closed. Security agents were visible outside the building, including masked members of the counter-terrorism squad.

Monday’s attack came three months after Jordanian special forces clashed with ISIS-linked gunmen at a hideout in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid. Seven suspected ISIS activists and a Jordanian officer were killed. The ISIS cell had planned attacks on military and civilian targets in the kingdom, officials said.

Over the past two years, since ISIS group’s swift land gains in Syria and Iraq, Jordan has cracked down on suspected sympathizers to prevent the extremists from recruiting inside its borders.

Several hundred Jordanians have been sentenced to prison by special military courts for expressing support for ISIS on social media.

Jordan is part of the US-led military campaign against ISIS.

(With AP)

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