Middle East

Jordan raid: Eight killed in Irbid as forces 'foil IS plot'

Jordanian public security officer stands guard in Irbid (2 March 2016) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Security personnel were deployed on the streets of Irbid following the overnight raid

Jordan says a raid in the city of Irbid that left seven suspected jihadist militants dead foiled attacks being plotted by so-called Islamic State.

Those killed were planning to blow up civilian and military targets in the country, according to the General Intelligence Directorate (GID).

A security officer was also killed and five were injured during the overnight raid, which triggered armed clashes.

Jordan is part of a US-led coalition battling IS fighters in Syria and Iraq.

It launched air strikes on IS positions in Syria in 2014 to ensure the "stability and security" of its borders, and has stepped up a crackdown on suspected IS sympathisers inside the kingdom.

Last year, Jordan executed two convicted jihadists following the killing of a Jordanian pilot who was captured by IS militants after his jet crashed in Syria.

The operation in Irbid, which is 20km (12 miles) from the Syrian border, was reportedly one of the largest targeting suspected jihadists in years.

Government spokesman Mohammad Momani told the public security department's Amen radio station that the raid started at around 19:00 (17:00 GMT) on Tuesday and lasted until 03:00 on Wednesday, according to the Jordan Times newspaper.

Mr Momani described those targeted as "outlaws".

Later, the official Petra news agency published a statement by the GID, which said it had thwarted a plot by an IS cell to attack "civilian and military sites in order to destabilise national security".

Security forces tracked the suspected militants to a residential building in Irbid, which security sources said was near a Palestinian refugee camp in the city centre.

"The terrorists refused to surrender and put up strong resistance using automatic weapons," the GID said, adding those killed were wearing explosive belts.

Weapons, ammunition, explosives and detonators were also found at the scene.

The GID said 13 people linked to the cell were detained in earlier raids in Irbid.

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