Man arrested for firing on an empty bus near Petra, say authorities

The heritage site in Jordan receives more than 800,000 visitors a year

The UNESCO site is a popular spot for tourists. Courtesy Diego Delso / Wikimedia Commons
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A dispute between two local residents resulted in gunfire near Jordan’s ancient city of Petra on Saturday.

An unidentified gunman opened fire on a bus but no passengers were on board and no one was hurt, state news agency Petra said.

Petra, quoting the spokesman for Jordan's General Security as saying, the bus, belonging to Petra local authorities, was damaged by the gunfire and an investigation was under way.

Petra Chief Commissioner Sulaiman Farajat said the bus was passing through Umm Saihoun, a trail workers use, when it was shot at. The suspect has been arrested, he told The Jordan Times.

Despite the attack not being aimed at tourists, the incident raises fears of safety at the Unesco site, visited by more than 800,000 people last year.

Tourism is a sector Jordan is actively trying to expand in hopes of shoring up the country’s stuttering, debt-ridden economy.

Changes to accessibility and infrastructure at the ancient site have increased the number of visitors to Petra by 33 per cent since 2017, the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority said.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Majd Shweikeh said on Saturday that growth in the sector had led to more jobs for Jordanian people.

Ms Shweikeh said this year's tourism revenue has grown by  eight per cent compared to last year, in an interview with Jordan Television.

Amman's General Intelligence service said it foiled 94 planned terror attacks inside and outside of the country last year, the Jordan Times reported in March.

Earlier that month, Nato and the UN launched a joint project with Jordan focusing on preparation for and response to terrorist attacks featuring chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons.