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Jordan: 4 Cops Killed During Raid After ISIS Claims Crusader Castle Attack

ISIS says four fighters undertook the shootout, which killed nine people on Sunday; security sources say perpetrators were Jordanian nationals.

Jordanian security forces patrol at a funeral for victims of a deadly shootout at a Crusader-era castle in Karak, Jordan, December 19, 2016.
Jordanian security forces patrol at a funeral for victims of a deadly shootout at a Crusader-era castle in Karak, Jordan, December 19, 2016. Khalil Mazraawi, AFP

Four Jordanian policemen were killed on Tuesday in clashes during a raid on a village near Karak, where a shootout claimed by ISIS at a Crusader castle killed at least nine people.

ISIS militants claimed responsibility earlier on Tuesday for the shootout, saying four fighters undertook Sunday's operation, which ended in their deaths. Jordanian officials have not said who they suspect in the attack though security sources said the perpetrators were Jordanian nationals.

Jordanian police said late on Sunday that they had killed four "terrorist outlaws" after expelling them from the castle where they were holed up after an exchange of fire that lasted several hours. Security forces were able to release around 10 tourists unharmed. At least 30 people were taken to hospital.

Jordanian Interior Minister Salamah Hamad said on Monday at least five suicide belts were found, together with an ammunition cache, automatic weapons and explosives in a hideout in a house in the desert town of Qatranah, 30 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Karak.

The gunmen had fled to Karak after an exchange of fire with the police, Hamad said. Based on the quantities of explosives and weapons, "I don't think the target was just Karak castle, it's more," he added. He would not elaborate, saying disclosing details at this stage could imperil national security.

Jordan has been relatively unscathed by the uprisings, civil wars and Islamist militancy that have swept the Middle East since 2011.

It is however among the few Arab states that have taken part in a U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS militants holding territory in Syria and Iraq. Many Jordanians oppose their country's involvement, saying it has led to the killing of fellow Muslims and raised security threats inside Jordan.

Last November three U.S. military trainers were shot dead when their car was fired on by a Jordanian army member at the gate of a military base. Washington disputed the official Jordanian version that they were shot at for failing to stop, and said it did not rule out political motives.