Jordan asks US for Patriot air defences to protect its borders amid Gaza war

Military spokesman says kingdom has also requested anti-drone system

YAJOUZ, JORDAN- APRIL 26: Jordanian anti terrorism squad soldiers shoot at the training ground in a desert camp of Yajouz outside of Amman, Jordan. A fierce fighting unit known to have thwarted numerous terror incidents in Jordan, the special operations unit has now become the 71st Battlalion in the country's military. The Anti-Terrorism squad of the Special Operations unit of Jordan's military is made to face a higher risk of terror attacks by boosting its special forces and training troops from neighbouring countries such as Iraq. (Salah Malkawi/ The National)
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Jordan has requested Patriot defences from the US to counter a new ballistic missile threat, a military spokesman said late on Sunday, as the authorities fear a spread of the Israel-Gaza war.

"We have asked the American side to bolster the Jordanian air defence system with Patriot missiles," Army spokesman Mustafa Al Hiyari told official television.

"Among the new threats is ballistic missiles."

The kingdom, a US ally for most of the 100 years since its inception, signed a defence agreement with Washington in 2021.

Several thousand US military personnel are also stationed in the kingdom.

Since the Gaza-Israel war started on October 7, King Abdullah and other Jordanian officials have repeatedly warned that the war could spread to other countries.

Mr Al Hiyari said that Jordan has also requested from Washington a separate anti-drone system.

There was no immediate response from Washington.

Commanders in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have also hinted at the possibility of a regional war, saying they may directly attack Israel if the conflict continues.

This would be in addition to sporadic attacks by Iranian proxies on Israeli targets from Lebanon, and from areas in Syria close to the border with Jordan.

But so far none of Iran's allies in the Middle East have matched tough talk in support of Hamas with sustained military action against Israel.

Last week, Iraqi Shiite militiamen supported by Iran, protested near a border crossing with Jordan, demanding access to travel through Jordan to fight against Israel.

One western diplomat said that the militia border presence in Iraq was an Iranian message that "Jordan is not immune to infiltration".

Jordan has long borders with Israel and a small Red Sea shoreline, next to the Israeli city Eilat, the target of a missile strike by Hamas last week, which was one of the longest-range strikes by the group so far in the war.

On Friday a missile struck the Egyptian resort city of Taba, 13km across the Gulf of Aqaba from the Jordanian coast.

Israeli officials suggested that the strike on Taba was launched by the the Houthi movement, an Iranian-backed Yemeni militia in control of Sanaa.

This month, the US military said drones and missiles were fired over the Red Sea by the Houthis but were brought down before they reached their target, which was possibly Israel.

Updated: October 29, 2023, 10:55 PM