Jordan foils al-Qaeda ‘terror plot’
AMMANJordan has foiled a “terrorist plot” and arrested 11 al-Qaeda suspects who planned to carry out suicide attacks against shopping malls, foreigners and diplomatic missions, Petra news agency reported on Oct. 21.
“The General Intelligence Department has foiled a terrorist plot against national security, by an 11-member terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda’s ideology,” it said.
The suspects were planning to launch a wave of attacks targeting shopping malls, diplomatic missions, foreigners, hotels and other key sites using explosives, car bombs, machineguns and mortars, the state news agency said.
A judicial source told Agence France-Presse that the case had been referred to the prosecutor of the state security court – a military tribunal – who has begun questioning “11 Jordanian nationals from Salafist movements.” “They will face two charges: conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts and possession of explosives,” said the source. The charges carry the death penalty. Petra also published pictures of the 11 suspects. Abed Shehadeh al-Tahawi, who heads Jordan’s Salafis, told the Associated Press that he “recognized at least half of the people shown on television.” “They are members of my group, but they have nothing to do with what is said to be a ’terror plot’,” he said. He called the Jordanian government announcement a “bluff to justify a looming crackdown on my group.”
Suspects coming from Syria
Information Minister Samih Maayatah told a news conference, meanwhile, that the 11 suspects had entered Jordan from neighboring Syria.
“The prisoners came across the border from Syria and were caught red-handed,” he said, adding that authorities seized weapons and maps showing the locations of the sites they planned to attack. Petra said the group had planned “to terrorize the Jordanian people and sow chaos” in the kingdom.