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Suspect of funding attack held - 4 policemen killed in new shootout



(MENAFN - Arab Times) Jordanian security forces are seen patroling on Dec 19, in Karak, a tourist destination, around 120 kilometres (70 miles) south of the capital Amman, following an attack a day earlier.

AMMAN, Dec 21, (Agencies): Jordanian security forces have arrested a man suspected of funding an attack by the Islamic State group that killed 10 people including a Canadian tourist, a security source said Wednesday. The suspect was detained in a raid on a house in Karak province on Tuesday by police looking for the perpetrators behind Sunday's shooting spree, official news agency Petra quoted the source as saying.

The suspect 'admitted to ties with the terrorist cell that targeted security forces and civilians' on Sunday 'and to buying weapons and funding the cell,' the source said. Another suspect and four policemen were killed in Tuesday's shootout between gunmen and security forces at the house in Karak's Qarifl a area.

Jordanian television showed footage of the house, whose walls were riddled with bullet holes. Sunday's attack in Karak, home to one of the region's biggest Crusader castles, killed seven policemen and two Jordanian civilians as well as a female Canadian tourist.

Four assailants were killed by the Jordanian security forces after an hours-long siege of the castle, where the suspects had fled after opening fire on police. The security source said the investigation into the attack was ongoing. IS on Tuesday claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by four 'soldiers of the caliphate' who used machineguns and hand grenades.

A statement said the assault targeted Jordanian 'apostate' security forces and citizens of the US-led coalition battling the jihadists in Syria and Iraq. Jordan is part of the alliance and has carried out air strikes targeting IS. It also hosts coalition troops on its territory. Maaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian fighter pilot from Karak, was captured by the jihadists when his plane went down in Syria in December 2014, and he was later burned alive in a cage. Sunday's attack has dealt a blow to the country's vital tourism sector, which had already suffered from the 2011 Arab uprisings and conflict in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

A witness says that in the latest deadly attack in Jordan, security forces walked into an ambush at a militants' hideout. Tuesday's attack, which killed four policemen, was the most recent in a series of deadly gunbattles in central Karak province that have shaken the pro-Western kingdom.

Suspected
Witness Rami al-Maaytah said on Wednesday that the man who led the police to a suspected hideout the previous day ran into the house and opened fire on the officers from the roof. In all, 14 people were killed this week, including 11 members of the security forces, two civilians and a Canadian tourist. Five gunmen also died. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for attacks on Sunday that spurred searches for more suspects, including in the village of Grefillah in Karak. Jordan is part of the alliance and has carried out air strikes targeting IS. It also hosts coalition troops on its territory.

Maaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian fighter pilot from Karak, was captured by the jihadists when his plane went down in Syria in December 2014, and he was later burned alive in a cage. King Abdullah II denounced Sunday's shooting spree as a 'cowardly terrorist attack', during a visit Tuesday to the police headquarters in Amman. But he vowed the assault 'will not affect the security and stability of Jordan. It will reinforce its will and the criminals will not be able to undermine' the country.

The Canadian foreign ministry confirmed one of its nationals had been killed and another injured in 'the heinous attack'. 'The government of Canada stands ready to assist Jordan in bringing the perpetrators of this attack to justice,' a statement added. On Monday, Jordanian police said they found suicide belts and other explosives in the hideout of the suspects behind the attack.

IS has claimed previous attacks on Jordan, including in June when a suicide bomber killed seven border guards near the Syrian frontier. According to sources close to Islamists, almost 4,000 Jordanians have joined jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, and an estimated 420 have been killed since 2011.

Earlier Tuesday, the extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for Sunday's shootings which killed nine Jordanians and a tourist from Canada. Sunday's shootings were the bloodiest in Jordan in recent memory and raised new concerns about the rise of Islamic militancy in the pro-Western kingdom. Jordan plays a key role in the U.S.- led military campaign against IS, which seized large areas in neighboring Iraq and Syria in 2014 and proclaimed a 'caliphate' there.

The back-to-back violent clashes between security forces and armed men this week undermine the kingdom's claim to be an oasis of stability in a region increasingly threatened by Islamic extremists. The IS claim of responsibility was published Tuesday on 'Shumoukh al- Islam,' a password-protected website affiliated with the extremist group.


Suspect of funding attack held - 4 policemen killed in new shootout

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