Jordan said to nab Islamic State terrorists for plot to attack Israeli soldiers

Four arrested as part of cell inspired by group, according to Jordanian newspaper; military prosecutor says they also considered targeting Jews in the kingdom

View of the Israeli-Jordanian border on February 10, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)
View of the Israeli-Jordanian border on February 10, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Four Jordanians allegedly involved with the extremist Islamic State terror group have been charged with plotting to attack Israeli soldiers near the Jordanian border, the Jordanian newspaper al-Rai reported.

The four suspects, who were arrested by Jordanian intelligence, planned to attack and overcome Jordanian border guards before reaching the Israelis on the other side of the border near Wadi Araba in the south, the Monday night report said.

“Intelligence operations by intelligence agents resulted in the detection and arrest of the cell’s members, preventing them from completing their terror plot,” the report said.

According to the reported indictment, the four suspects met in the Jordanian cities of Irbid and Karak. All were inspired by the extremist Islamic State, which has conducted an insurgency in Iraq and Syria for years as well as terror attacks around the world.

Their plans grew more sophisticated, and the four allegedly discussed targeting not just Israeli soldiers, but also Jews — likely foreign nationals — living in the kingdom.

One of the four cell members was arrested at the end of last year, and the remaining three were caught in February, the report said.

According to the indictment, issued by the Jordanian State Security Prosecutor, the four intended to acquire firearms to execute the plot, but were arrested before they could purchase them, al-Rai said.

Jordan has had peace with Israel since 1994, when the two countries signed a historic treaty in Wadi Araba. The two sides have cooperated closely on security for decades, although worsening relations between Jordan’s King Abdullah II and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu chilled ties in recent years.

US Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi and King Abdullah II of Jordan participate in a photo op in the Speaker’s Balcony Hallway of the US Capitol on July 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (ALEX WONG/Getty Images via AFP)

The Islamic State organization has posed a challenge to Jordan’s internal stability in recent years. While the radical terror group — which sought to restore the glory days of the historic Islamic caliphate — has been on the retreat for years, Jordan still bears scars from the struggle.

In 2015 when IS burned captured Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh alive in a cage, it disseminated a graphic video of his painful death, shocking and outraging the kingdom.

The following year, IS-affiliated terrorists stormed a tourist site in the southern city of Karak, killing 14 civilians and security personnel. Five of the attackers perished in the crossfire.

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