A terrorist attack at a popular Christian tourist site in Jordan has left 10 people dead and dozens more wounded. The attack Sunday at the ancient Karak castle followed ‘multiple shooting incidents’ in a nearby town.
The violence erupted yesterday when a police patrol came under fire, while responding to a call about 25 miles away from Karak. Another police patrol then came under attack in Karak, CNN reported. The terrorists reportedly started firing at a police station after positioning themselves in a 12th century castle–one of main tourist attractions in Karak. An hours-long standoff ensued as security forces surrounded the Crusader-era fortress.
Seven members of the security forces and two Jordanian civilians were among the dead. The Canadian government has confirmed that one of its nationals was also killed in the attack. First Post reports that a female Canadian tourist was among those killed Sunday after the terrorists holed themselves up in the medieval castle.
Jordan’s Public Service Directorate (PSD) said the siege ended when the four terrorists were killed inside the castle. When officers conducted a search of the castle afterwards, they discovered “many automatic weapons,” the PSD stated.
According to Jordan’s Interior Minister, the people who staged the attacks in Karak had suicide vests and other weapons and were planning other attacks, the Jerusalem Post reported. The suicide vests and explosives were found after authorities raided a home they were using in a nearby town.
These types of attacks are rare in Jordan, one of the few Arab states that have taken part in the US-led air campaign against Islamic State in Syria. U.S. State Dept spokesperson John Kirby issued a statement saying: “The United States remains steadfast in our commitments to Jordan, one of our closest allies and partners. Such attacks only reinforce our collective resolve to create a more secure and stable region and world.”
It’s not yet clear what group was behind the attack in Karak. Jordanian government officials called this a “cowardly terrorist attack.”
The castle is located south of Madaba on the old King’s Highway, which was the capital of the biblical kingdom of Moab. Perched atop a steep hill, Kerak is a predominantly Christian town dominated by the largest and best preserved of the Crusader castles in the region.
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