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No violence against tourists in Petra — authorities

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Aug 24,2019 - Last updated at Aug 24,2019

Although the rose-red city of Petra has witnessed an uptick in tourist footfall, some in the local community are disgruntled over the lack of employment opportunities in the region (JT file photo)

AMMAN — Officials on Saturday asserted that no tourists were attacked after reports that a tourist bus came under fire in Petra.

Petra Chief Commissioner Sulaiman Farajat told The Jordan Times that the bus belongs to tour guides and there were no tourists inside the bus at the time of the incident.

No loss of lives or injuries were reported as the vehicle was empty, Farajat confirmed.

He added that the concerned agencies have arrested the suspect, who is a local who allegedly shot the bus while passing through Umm Saihoun, which is part of Petra’s back-trail, usually frequented by workers including tour guides but not tourists.

The suspect attacked the bus while it was heading towards Petra, some 250km south of Amman, to pick up tour guides, Qasim Bedoul, a local, told The Jordan Times.

“The suspect knew that only the driver was in the bus and shot at the back of the bus,” Bedoul said.

“People here are upset by the increasing unemployment rate among young locals and by the lack of fair sharing of Petra’s benefits with the local community,” Bedoul said.

“We are against violence of any form, however, Petra’s authorities have to do more to help the bedouins of Petra secure their livings and future,” the local added.

Bedoul noted that there are more than 1,000 young people in Umm Saihoun who are unemployed.

Farajat said the Petra Tourism Development Region Authority has accomplished, and is working on several projects to engage the locals as much as possible in the tourism industry.

For their part, tour guides, who stopped entering the site earlier in the day, decided to resume work especially after the arrest of the suspect.

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