Jordan: Four people killed in raid on house sheltering militants

Security forces surrounding a building where terrorists were hiding in Salt northwest of Amman

Security forces have been extra vigilant since the start of this year with warnings that sympathisers of Islamic State could launch revenge attacks after the militants were driven out of most of the territory they once controlled in Syria and Iraq.

Security forces gather near a damaged building at the city of Salt, Jordan, August 12, 2018.

In a huge security operation, Jordanian forces laid siege to the building in a residential part of Salt on Saturday night in a search for those responsible for a bomb attack on Friday on a police van.

Jordan has played a key role in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, using its air force against the militants and allowing coalition forces to use its bases.

The Kingdom on Saturday denounced the bomb attack on the joint patrol of gendarmerie and public security forces in Al-Fahees area in the Jordanian capital Amman.

The Jordanian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the blast hit a security patrol in the Christian-majority town of al-Fuheis, located 20 kilometers northwest of Amman, on Friday evening.

Jordanian authorities did not say what motivated the Fuheis attackers, and there was no claim of responsibility. The suspects holed up inside opened fire and set off powerful explosions, officials said.

Officers also made five arrests on Sunday following the shootout, according to government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat. A wing of the building collapsed.

The Hala Akhbar news website linked to Jordan's military said the suspects are Jordanians and that the cell had planned to attack security installations and other sensitive targets. The site said the suspects had been armed with explosives, grenades and weapons.

In June 2016, a cross-border vehicle bombing launched from Syria killed seven Jordanian border guards.

Ghuneimat initially said one officer was killed, but later updated the death toll to three.

Such incidents are rare, but radical Islamists have long targeted Jordan, a tightly policed country that is also a staunch regional ally of the United States and signed a peace treaty with Israel.

The kingdom has cracked down on suspected terrorists in recent years, imposing prison terms of several years for suspected sympathizers, including those expressing support for extremist ideology on social media.

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