Jordan shootings: IS claims attack at Kerak castle

Guard of honour carries a picture of soldier killed during an attack in Karak, Jordan (19 December 2016)Image copyright

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Seven members of the Jordanian security forces were killed in the attack

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed it was behind an attack in Jordan on Sunday that killed 10 people, including a Canadian tourist.

A statement named four “soldiers of the caliphate” who it said had been involved in the assault in Karak.

They had targeted Jordanian security forces and citizens of the US-led coalition against IS, it added.

The assailants fired at police patrols before being shot dead in a stand-off at Karak’s renowned Crusader castle.

The Jordanian authorities have not confirmed their identities nor said whether it suspects they were members of IS, describing them only as “terrorist outlaws”.

Jordan’s fight against home-grown extremism

The IS statement, circulated on Tuesday via the messaging app Telegram, said the four attackers had been armed with machine guns and hand grenades.

They were killed after “giving the apostates and Crusader citizens a taste of death which our people are tasting in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere”, it added.

Sunday’s attack began when a police patrol received reports of a fire in the village of Qatraneh, about 32km (20 miles) east of Karak.

Officers who responded came under fire from inside the house. Two were wounded before the assailants fled in a car towards Karak Castle.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad told reporters on Monday that inside the castle was a group of tourists.

He denied that they were taken hostage, but said they were forced to hide during the stand-off, which lasted several hours.

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Karak’s Crusader castle is a major tourist attraction that dominates the town

Mr Hammad said five or six explosive belts were found in possession of the assailants, suggesting they might have planned other attacks.

“I don’t think the target was only Karak castle,” he added. “Maybe there were more targets, but Allah helped us discover this cell before more attacks took place.”

The Canadian tourist who was killed has been identified as Linda Vatcher, a 62-year-old retired teacher from Newfoundland.

She had been visiting Jordan to see her son, Chris, who was among the 34 injured.

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