Jordan said to foil Iran-backed terror plot
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Jordan said to foil Iran-backed terror plot

Suspected bomber detained with 100 pounds of explosives for use in attack on Saudi target, local paper reports

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative photo of a Jordanian soldier during a military drill in Amman, Jordan, on April 19, 2015 (AP/Raad Adayleh)
Illustrative photo of a Jordanian soldier during a military drill in Amman, Jordan, on April 19, 2015 (AP/Raad Adayleh)

Jordanian security forces have thwarted an Iranian-backed terror plot against Saudi Arabia, local media reported Monday.

Security forces arrested a member of Bayt al-Maqdis in the Jarash region of Jordan, just north of Amman, according to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Rais. The group shares a name with an unrelated Egyptian organization. The source did not say when he was detained.

The suspect was found with 100 pounds (approx. 45 kilograms) of explosives and had plans to use them in a terrorist attack against Saudi Arabia, a source close to the case said.

He was due to appear before the state security court later Monday, accused of “possessing explosive material and planning terrorist acts”, the judicial source said.

The Bayt al-Maqdis member had both Iraqi and Norwegian citizenship, Al-Rais said.

This was the largest quantity of explosives of this caliber seized by Jordan in over ten years, according to a judicial source.

The State Security Court, a military tribunal headed by military judge Colonel Mohammed Afif, is slated to begin its hearings on Monday, the newspaper reported.

Tehran is a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has accused Jordan of aiding rebel groups fighting his forces in Syria.

Jordan is hosting a US-run program to train Syrian rebels to fight against the Islamic State group, and has said it is training some tribal groups in Syria.

Ties between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran have long been strained, with the two often finding themselves on opposing sides in regional affairs.

Saudi Arabia has been a vocal critic of Iran’s nuclear program, urging the West to take a strong stance in negotiations with the Islamic Republic. The two are also apparently facing off in Yemen, with a Saudi-led coalition targeting Houthi rebels claimed to be backed by Iran.

In 2011, the US officials accused Iran of involvement in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Two Iranians were charged in a New York court October 2011, despite only one of the pair being in custody.

AFP contributed to this report.

 

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