Jordan’s security forces have foiled an Islamic State plot to carry out a series of coordinated and large-scale attacks aimed at sowing chaos in the Hashemite kingdom, Jordan’s official news outlet Petra reported Monday.
The kingdom’s security forces arrested 17 men suspected of being Islamic State members who were planning a number of “coordinated attacks with the aim of shaking the country’s security, and sowing chaos and fear in its citizens,” the report said. The arrests took place in November 2017.
The security forces confiscated weapons and “materials” intended to be used in the attacks, the reported added.
Interrogations of the alleged Islamic State members revealed, according to the report, that they had carried out reconnaissance of possible targets for attacks, including security, commercial, media and religious centers.
The cell planned to fund its attacks by carrying out bank robberies in the towns of Russeifa and Zarqa and also through stealing and selling cars, the report said.
The cell planned to manufacture explosives using materials available on the open market.
The 17 members of the cell were charged by Jordan’s Prosecutor General on a number of counts related to terrorism.
Since IS took over swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014, Jordan, a key US ally, has used its own air force and allowed US-led coalition forces to use its bases to carry out sorties against the group.
In December 2016, Islamic State gunmen killed 10 people in Karak, a tourist destination known for one of the biggest Crusader castles in the region, around 120 kilometers (70 miles) south of the capital Amman. It marked the first time IS claimed an attack on a civilian site in Jordan, a spot popular with tourists. A Canadian woman and two local residents were among 10 people killed.
The Hashemite kingdom has managed to foil a number of Islamic state attacks in its borders in recent years, avoiding repeated episodes of mass violence similar to those caused by the terror group in neighboring countries.
A string of defeats at the hands of coalition-backed campaigns in Syria and Iraq as well as a Russian-backed assault by Syrian government forces have brought the jihadist group’s “caliphate” to the edge of collapse.
Agencies contributed to this report.