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Jordan foils ’criminal plot linked to ISIS’ in deadly raid

Thursday 3 March 2016, by siawi3


By Jomana Karadsheh and Greg Botelho, CNN

Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT) March 2, 2016
Story highlights

Jordanian authorities arrest 13 people who authorities say were part of a "criminal plot linked to ISIS"
Then 7 others in suicide vests and with guns attack Jordanian security forces
The fight ends with all 7 attackers killed, as well as one security force member

Irbid, Jordan (CNN)ISIS militants planned to strike civilian and military targets inside Jordan but were foiled by authorities, a government agency said.

A series of raids carried out Tuesday into Wednesday in Irbid, Jordan, led to the arrests of 13 people alleged to have been part of the plot, the state-run Petra news agency reported, citing the General Intelligence Directorate, Jordan’s national intelligence agency.

But that was just the beginning. Seven other alleged terrorists, wearing suicide belts and carrying automatic weapons, then attacked Jordanian security forces in the northern Jordanian city, which is 55 miles north of Amman and about 13 miles from the Syrian border.

That onslaught ended with all seven attackers killed, as well as one member of Jordan’s specialized security force. Two civilians and two security force members were wounded, government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said on local radio.

"This is a message to the whole world about this country’s ability to stand as a rock in the face of all attempts to attacks its security and citizens," Momani said.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour initially called the group "outlaws." But the General Intelligence Directorate later said they were part of a "criminal plot linked to ISIS."

Their goal, according to the agency, was to "destabilize national security."
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The security operation marks a major achievement for Jordanian authorities, as well as a harsh reminder of the terror that has long been lurking on the country’s doorstep.

Bordering Syria, Jordan has seen the terror wrought by ISIS up close. After Turkey and Lebanon, it’s taken in the most refugees — about 640,000, according to the United Nations — who have fled the fierce fighting and brutal tactics used by many warring parties in neighboring nations.

Violence spearheaded by ISIS has spilled over into many of these other places, like Turkey and Lebanon. Jordan has largely avoided such attacks on its own soil, though it hasn’t been immune either.
Visiting the hometown of pilot victimized in ISIS video

Visiting the hometown of pilot victimized in ISIS video 02:38

The most high-profile example may have been ISIS’ burning alive of Lt. Moath al-Kasasbeh, a 27-year-old Jordanian fighter pilot who was captured after his aircraft crashed in December 2014 during a mission in Syria.

Jordan responded to Kasasbeh’s killing by executing two prisoners — Sajida al-Rishawi, whose release ISIS had previously demanded as part of a prisoner exchange, and Ziad Karbouli, a former top aide to the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. And the pilot’s father called for Jordan to do even more.

"His blood is more valued than Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad Karbouli," Kasasbeh’s father, Safi, said of his son. "I demand that revenge should be bigger than executing prisoners."

CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh reported from Irbid and Greg Botelho wrote in Atlanta.