Jordan Says It Foiled Large-scale ISIS Attack on Shopping Malls, Security Installations

State media says 17 Islamic State militants arrested over November plot

Jordanian police stand guard during a protest near the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan December 13, 2017
MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS

Jordan said on Monday it had foiled an Islamic State plot that included plans for a series of attacks last November on security installations, shopping malls and moderate religious figures, state media reported.

State news agency Petra said the country's intelligence department had arrested 17 members of the cell and confiscated weapons and explosives that the militant group had planned to use in the operation.

"The members of the cell had planned to execute a number of terrorist attacks simultaneously to destabilize national security and sow chaos and terror among civilians," the statement said. 

The detainees were being interrogated before being put on trial in a military court, the authorities said without giving a date. 

The statement said the cell had waged a series of bank robberies and car thefts to get financing, and manufactured homemade explosives from material bought from local markets.

Militants from al Qaeda and other radical jihadist groups have long targeted the U.S. allied kingdom and dozens of militants are currently serving long prison terms. 

King Abdullah, a Middle East ally of Western powers against Islamist militancy who has also safeguarded Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel, has been among the most vocal leaders in the region in warning of threats posed by radical groups.

Jordan plays a prominent role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, providing military, logistical and intelligence support, Western diplomats and regional intelligence sources say. 

Several incidents over the past few years have jolted the Arab kingdom, which has been comparatively unscathed by the uprisings, civil wars and Islamist militancy that have swept the Middle East since 2011. 

In the last major incident, Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for a shootout just over a year ago at a Crusader castle in the southern city of Karak in which ten people including a Canadian tourist were killed.