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Jordan arrests 11 Islamic State jihadists

Security official says suspects admit to plotting attacks in Hashemite Kingdom; Israel has indicated it will act should group reach neighboring state

Illustrative photo of Jordanian police (photo credit: AP/Raad Adayleh)
Illustrative photo of Jordanian police (photo credit: AP/Raad Adayleh)

Jordan said it arrested 11 members of the Islamic State group suspected of plotting terrorist attacks inside the Hashemite Kingdom.

A security source said the suspects were planning to harm high-value interests in the country and admitted to the charges against them, Israel Radio reported.

Earlier this month, Israel told the US that should the extremist group start operating in neighboring Jordan, it will not hesitate to act, according to a Channel 2 TV report which cited diplomatic sources.

The report did not specify what actions Israel might take if Islamic State started impacting upon Jordan, but Israel is wary of its eastern neighbor being challenged by the brutal terror group, and would seek to guard against further inroads that would directly threaten Israel.

Islamic State fighters near the border between Syria and Iraq (photo credit: YouTube screen cap/Vice)
Islamic State fighters near the border between Syria and Iraq (photo credit: YouTube screen cap/Vice)

Israel has provided the US with intelligence and satellite images on Islamic State positions, as well as information on Westerners joining its ranks, to assist Washington in its ongoing operation against the Islamic State, reports earlier this month indicated.

The US has been working on building an international coalition to battle the terror group which has seized large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and driven thousands to flee.

Syrian Kurds cross on September 20, 2014 the border from Syria into Turkey near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. (Photo credit: BULENT KILIC / AFP)
Syrian Kurds cross on September 20, 2014 the border from Syria into Turkey near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. (Photo credit: BULENT KILIC / AFP)

US President Barack Obama officially announced a campaign this month, largely comprised of airstrikes, against the terror group and urged international and regional states to join in the effort. The US has launched over 100 airstrikes on the group’s positions since last month.

On Friday,the State Department named 55 countries, including Jordan, as partners in the international coalition against the Islamic State and as contributors in some form or another in the fight against the extremist group.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has also indicated there was a role for Iran in the fight, even as both Washington and Tehran have publicly ruled out direct cooperation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event marking 10 years to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on September 21, 2014.  (photo credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event marking 10 years to the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on September 21, 2014. (photo credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel was doing its part in confronting worldwide jihadist terrorism, though not all of its efforts are known to the public and expressed Jerusalem’s full support for the American-led offensive against the Islamic State.

Amid reports that the West may consider easing sanctions on Iran in exchange for its help fighting the Islamic State, Netanyahu on Sunday lambasted such an arrangement as “absurd,” saying he’d never accept such a deal.

“I know just what Menachem Begin would say about the thing I am hearing more and more in recent days from respected analysts in the West,” Netanyahu said, speaking at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. “They [Iran] are fighting ISIL [another name for the Islamic State which stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] for their own interests, they are fighting over who will control the Islamic world that they want to impose on the entire world.

“It’s like Assad saying, ‘Give me back chemical weapons, so that I will fight ISIL,’” he said.

The prime minister’s comments followed earlier reports from Reuters that Iranian officials had indicated Iran would be willing to back US efforts to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in exchange for easing the restrictions on its contested nuclear program.

Stuart Winer and AP contributed to this report. 

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