Jordan foils IS plot to attack Israeli businessmen, US embassy

Local media says targets of failed 17-member terror cell also included a church, a French institute and a private TV channel

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

A general view of the US embassy in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
A general view of the US embassy in Amman, Jordan, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

A terror cell affiliated with the Islamic State jihadist group planned to attack Israeli businessmen, the US embassy in Jordan and other Western and Jordanian targets in Amman, the country’s daily Al Rai newspaper revealed on Tuesday.

Jordan’s security forces uncovered the plot last November and arrested 17 members of the terror cell before they were able to carry out the attacks, the report said.

It said the targets chosen by the terrorists also included the French Institute of Jordan, the private Ro’ya TV channel, a nightclub, tunnels belonging to the country’s Phosphate Company, and a church.

The Israeli businessmen who were slated to be attacked had repeatedly visited a local clothing factory, the report added.

The terror cell, it said, was divided into three groups. The first group’s mission was to preview the targets, the second was to provide technical support and carry out minor attacks, and the third would carry out major attacks and suicide bombings.

The main suspect was said to have been inspired by Mahmoud al Masharfeh, who carried out a suicide bombing that killed five Jordanian intelligence officers north of Amman in 2016. Al Masharfeh, too, belonged to Islamic State.

The main suspect, whose identity was not released, planned to carry out a similar attack against a Jordanian intelligence office with automatic rifles and pistols he managed to obtain.

He reportedly first had the idea of forming a terror cell in 2016. His goal was to undermine Jordan’s national security and pave the way for the Islamic State terror group to gain a foothold in the kingdom, the report said.

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