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Jordan foils arms smuggling plot by 'state-sponsored militia' in March — official source

By Raed Omari - May 16,2024 - Last updated at May 16,2024

Jordanian soldiers patrolling along the border with Syria to prevent trafficking (AFP photo)

AMMAN — Security bodies have foiled an attempt by a "state-sponsored militia" to smuggle weapons into the Kingdom, an official source has said without naming the country backing the smugglers.

The unnamed source told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that the weapons were on their way to a cell in the Kingdom.

"The weapons were seized when members of the cell, all Jordanians, were arrested back in March," the source said, adding that" investigations and operations were ongoing to uncover more [details] related to the plot".

The source said that security bodies have foiled several attempts to smuggle weapons into the Kingdom in the past few months with the arms seized including, C4 and Semtex explosives, AK-47 rifles, 107mm Katyusha rockets, Claymore mines, among others.  

Jordan has been cracking down on smuggling attempts of drugs and arms from Syria, with the army saying that smugglers have used sometimes drones to fly the drugs over the border.

The official source’s statement to Petra came after Reuters published a report, quoting Jordanian sources as saying that the weapons were sent by Iranian-backed militias in Syria to a cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan that has links to the military wing of Hamas.

The two sources, who requested anonymity, told Reuters that the cell was planning to carry out acts of sabotage in Jordan.

Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday it had “no ties to any acts targeting Jordan and it does not interfere in any country’s internal affairs”.

The Palestinian group said its policy is unchanged and clear and is confined to confronting the “Zionist occupation” .

A senior member of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood confirmed to Reuters that that some of its members were arrested in March in possession of weapons but said whatever they did was not approved by the group. 

Another senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, who also requested anonymity, told Reuters that the arrested cell members had been recruited by Hamas senior leader Saleh Arouri, who was killed by a drone strike in Beirut in January. 

The drone hit a Hamas office in Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahiyeh leaving six people dead, Lebanon’s state news agency said. Hamas accused Israel of the strike that killed Arouri 

Jordan had allowed Hamas to operate in the Kingdom before it shut down its offices in Amman and expelled its leaders in 1999. Several of the Palestinian group’s members were arrested and arrest warrants were issued to some others, who were in Iran at the time of crackdown.

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