Jordan must remain vigilant following attacks: analysts

By Mohammed Ghazal in Amman

Jordanian forces gather near a damaged building in the city of Salt on Sunday (August 12th). Jordanian forces killed three extremists and arrested five others during a raid the previous day. [Khalil Mazraawi/AFP]

Jordanian forces gather near a damaged building in the city of Salt on Sunday (August 12th). Jordanian forces killed three extremists and arrested five others during a raid the previous day. [Khalil Mazraawi/AFP]

Jordanians must remain alert and vigilant to prevent further terror attacks, analysts told Al-Mashareq, following a deadly Saturday (August 11th) attack in Salt that has been linked to the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

Four members of the Jordanian forces and three members of a cell linked to ISIS were killed as the security forces conducted a raid on the cell's hideout.

Five other extremists were arrested during the Saturday operation.

Jordanian forces conducted the raid following a Friday night blast that targeted a patrol car at a music festival near Amman, killing a policeman.

Jordan on Monday announced that the cell was made up of ISIS supporters who shared the group's extremist views. The kingdom has been a key member of the international coalition fighting ISIS in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

The cell had been preparing to stage a series of attacks in Jordan, Interior Minister Samir Mubaidin said.

The suspects, all of whom are Jordanian, "were not part of an organisation", he added, but followed the extremist ideology of ISIS and supported the group.

Active role in fighting terror

"This is not the first time Jordan has been targeted, as the kingdom has been playing a major role in the fight against terrorism," said military analyst Maj. Gen. Fayez al-Duwairi, who is retired from the Jordanian military.

"Many security personnel were martyred in 2016, when several terrorist operations took place in Karak, Irbid and at the border areas with Syria," he told Al-Mashareq.

The kingdom has been targeted because of its active role in the fight against terrorism and its membership in the international coalition battling ISIS, he said.

"Jordan has taken part in many operations against terrorist groups in many countries and has long experience in dealing with terrorists, but caution is required, as we are a target," al-Duwairi said.

He called for vigilance and for raising the level of readiness in the coming period, in light of ongoing regional unrest and as ISIS lashes out following its defeat.

Extremist groups are working to recruit vulnerable youth, and therefore a great deal of attention must be paid to addressing the challenges they face, sociology professor Hussein al-Khuzai told Al-Mashareq.

"Schools, universities, families and places of worship play a major role in the war on terror," he said, by promoting a society that renounces violence.

Focus on the home front

"There needs to be a greater focus on the home front," strategy analyst and retired military officer Maj. Gen. Adeeb al-Sarayreh told Al-Mashareq.

"The army is doing an excellent job of controlling the border and preventing the infiltration of terrorists from neighbouring countries," he said.

It has succeeded in thwarting many extremists who have tried to infiltrate, he said, adding that "we must watch out and monitor sleeper cells in Jordan".

Going forward, it will be necessary to pay serious attention to addressing economic and social issues such as corruption, poverty and unemployment, conditions extremists have exploited to recruit poor and hopeless youth, al-Sarayreh said.

"Terrorist groups believe they can create strife in Jordanian society," said Mohammed Nasour, a resident of Salt.

"Every time Jordan is attacked by terrorist groups, Jordanians show their unity and stand with the security services and the leadership," he said.

"Their conviction of the need to continue the war on terrorism increases, despite the losses," he added. "The terrorists will not succeed in dividing us."

Do you like this article?

0 Comment(s)

Comment Policy * Denotes Required Field 1500 / 1500