Jordan’s King Abdullah pledges action after gunman kills intelligence officers

“Jordan will act with all firmness and force against anyone seeking to undermine its security,” he said on a visit to the headquarters of the intelligence services.

Jordanian special forces vehicles pass near an intelligence office close to the Baqaa refugee camp on June 6, 2016. EPA
Powered by automated translation

AMMAN // Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed on Tuesday to act decisively against anyone who threatens the kingdom’s security, a day after a lone gunman shot dead five intelligence officers.

“Jordan will act with all firmness and force against anyone seeking to undermine its security,” he said on a visit to the headquarters of the intelligence services.

“National unity is the weapon we will use to thwart all plans that aim to disrupt stability and cohesion.”

He added that the country would not be weakened by “the terrorist acts of traitors”.

Earlier, the authorities imposed a media blackout on information about Monday’s early morning attack, the official Petra news agency reported.

It said the sweeping ban covered not only traditional media such as newspapers and broadcasters, but also internet sites and social media networks.

The blackout came just hours after government spokesman Mohammed Momani said a suspect had been arrested following the shooting at the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa, north of Amman.

The five officers had been starting their shift when a gunman struck at their office in the largest of the kingdom’s 10 official Palestinian refugee camps.

“Investigations are under way but early indications are that this was an isolated and individual act,” Mr Momani said, announcing the arrest of a Jordanian in his 20s without giving his name.

A security source said the suspect was arrested at a mosque in the Salt region north of Amman.

He was armed and resisted arrest, the source said, adding that a police officer had been injured in the swoop.

Presenting his condolences to intelligence chief Faisal Al Shubaki, King Abdullah welcomed the swift arrest of a suspect.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the shooting, which came on the first day of Ramadan.

Jordan is a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in neighbouring Iraq and Syria, and has been the target of extremist attacks in the past.

King Abdullah has repeatedly warned that the threat from extremist Sunni groups poses the biggest threat to Jordan’s long-term stability.

Amman has imprisoned dozens of hardline Islamists in the last few years, many of who had come from Syria or were arrested while trying to cross the border.

Baqaa refugee camp houses about 220,000 people, including more than 100,000 of the two million Palestinian refugees who live in Jordan.

* Agence France-Presse, with additional reporting by Reuters