Jordan shootings: Police killed in fresh clashes near Karak

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Jordanian security forces deployed in Karak (19 December 2016)Image source, AFP
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Security has been increased in the Karak area since a deadly attack on Sunday

Four Jordanian security personnel have been killed in fresh clashes with armed men near the central town of Karak, state media report.

Sources said the gunfight began during a raid on a house where wanted suspects were believed to be hiding.

A security source told the official Petra news agency that the operation was not linked to Sunday's shootings in Karak that left 10 people dead.

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed it was behind that attack.

A statement circulated on Tuesday via the messaging app Telegram said "four soldiers of the caliphate" had on Sunday targeted Jordanian security forces and citizens of countries in the US-led coalition that is battling IS in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

Image source, Reuters
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Seven members of the Jordanian security forces were killed on Sunday

The Jordanian authorities have not confirmed the assailants' identities nor said whether they were members of IS, describing them only as "terrorist outlaws".

Sunday's attack began when a police patrol received reports of a fire in the village of Qatraneh, about 32km (20 miles) east of Karak.

Officers who responded came under fire from inside the house. Two were wounded before the assailants fled in a car towards Karak castle, a major tourist attraction that dominates the town.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad told reporters on Monday that there had been a group of tourists inside the castle at the time.

He denied they were taken hostage, but said they had to hide during an ensuing stand-off between the gunmen and security personnel, which lasted several hours.

Mr Hammad said five or six explosive belts were found in the possession of the assailants, suggesting they might have planned other attacks.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Karak's Crusader castle is a major tourist attraction that dominates the town

"I don't think the target was only Karak castle," he added. "Maybe there were more targets, but Allah helped us discover this cell before more attacks took place."

Seven members of the Jordanian security forces, two local bystanders and a Canadian tourist were killed in the attack.

The Canadian has been identified as Linda Vatcher, a 62-year-old retired teacher from Newfoundland. She had been visiting Jordan to see her son, Chris, who was among the 34 injured.