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Authorities crack down on suspected terrorists in Karak, other areas

King oversees second operation in Karak linked to castle incident; four officers fall, 11 wounded

By Rana Husseini - Dec 21,2016 - Last updated at Dec 21,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah oversees a security operation targeting suspected terrorists holed up in a Karak village from a crisis management centre in Amman on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — Four security officers were killed during a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout in a Karak village, which also resulted in the death of one wanted man, a senior official announced, stressing that anti-terror efforts will continue.

The operation was concluded late Tuesday, he said, adding that the killed suspect and the others who were with him in the hideout were connected to Sunday’s attacks in the southern governorate.

His Majesty King Abdullah was following up on the operation in person at the National Centre for Security and Crisis Management, where he held a meeting of concerned officials and commanders.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani held a press conference at the same venue, upon directives by His Majesty, who wanted the public to be updated on the events as they unfolded from the official channels.

He said that security officers were searching the house where "the terrorists took refuge" in the village of Qreifelleh.

Three gendarmerie officers and a policeman were killed and 11 others were injured in the operation, according to a Public Security Department statement.

Momani said the incident started when the security agencies summoned a man suspected to be connected with the terrorist cell that was eliminated on Sunday at Karak Castle.

"The man confessed that he was part of the cell and that he had stashed weapons and other material at his house," he said.

When he reached the house with a security force, he ran inside the house, grabbed a machine gun and fired at the officers, killing one and injuring another, according to Momani.

“Other suspects joined him and fired at officers that rushed to the scene, and were able to kill three others.”

The security forces responded by killing one suspect and injuring another, he added. He did not specify the number of militants who were in the hideout.

Momani underlined the issue of public awareness and its significance in the fight against terrorists. 

He told reporters that the government sent 56,000 text messages to residents in the area urging them to stay home.

The media minister urged all citizens to refrain from sending any videos or information regarding any security operation “because it will hinder our work and put our officers in jeopardy”.

“The time now is for all of us to express solidarity with our security forces and leadership by listening to their instructions,” Momani stressed.

He added that there are ongoing operations in Karak and other parts of the Kingdom.

“We will overcome this crisis. We will not rest until we extract this dark terrorism that aims at hijacking our safety and stability.”

Tuesday’s incident comes less than 48 hours after seven police officers, two Jordanians and a Canadian tourist were killed by four terrorists who were later shot dead by security officers following a five-hour standoff in Karak Castle.

Thirty-four civilians and police officers were injured during the Sunday terror attack that started around 2:30pm in Qatraneh town, around 40km to the north of Karak, and ended around midnight in the castle.

In a related development, Jordan Media Commission (JMC) Director General Mohammad Qteishat announced that the commission would block the transmission of any unlicensed media outlet that publishes any news, data or comments about the Kingdom’s internal or foreign affairs, citing powers vested in the agency under the relevant law. 

He told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that the JMC will notify the prosecution of any violations that some media outlets may commit, prior to blocking them.

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