Terrorists carried out a series of attacks in Jordan, threatening its already-faltering tourism industry.
Terrorists assaulted Jordanian police in a series of attacks on Sunday, including at a Crusader castle popular with tourists, killing seven officers, two local civilians and a Canadian tourist.
At least 34 people, including two foreign nationals, were wounded in the day’s violence, which was one of the bloodiest attacks in Jordan in recent memory.
Security officials announced late Sunday, several hours after reports of the first shooting, that a rescue operation by Special Forces had ended, during which four terrorists were killed.
Local media reported that at one point, the terrorists had held hostages.
The officials said large amounts of weapons had been seized.
A witness said the terrorists immediately targeted tourists when they reached the castle.
“Four gunmen got out of their car” at the castle, said Wasfi al-Habashneh, a local resident. “They opened fire at the Canadian tourists. The woman was killed, the other Canadian tourist escaped and hid behind a car and one of the children was injured.”
The chain of events began when a police patrol received reports of a house fire in the town of Qatraneh in the Karak district, said a statement by Jordan’s Public Security Directorate. Officers responding to the call came under fire from inside the house. Two policemen were wounded and the terrorists fled in a car, it said.
In another attack, terrorists fired on a security patrol in Karak, causing no injuries.
Terrorists also opened fire on a police station at the Crusader fort, wounding members of security forces.
Canada’s global affairs spokesman John Babcock named the murdered woman as Linda Vatcher. Babcock said her son Chris was injured.
Barb Rhymes, a cousin of the slain tourist, said the victim was a retired elementary teacher from Burgeo, Newfoundland, and was visiting her son in Jordan, where he works. Rhymes said Linda Vatcher, 62, was a widow and a mother of two adult sons.
“She was very friendly, outgoing. She was nice to everyone. A friend to all,” Rhymes said from Burgeo. “It’s devastating. It has hit the town hard. My mind is not there right now. She was a beautiful person.”
Attacks Threaten Jordan’s Stability
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in and near Karak.
The shootings were the latest in a series of attacks that have challenged the pro-Western kingdom’s claim to be an oasis of calm in a region threatened by Islamic terrorism.
The killing of the Canadian visitor could further hurt Jordan’s embattled tourism sector, which has declined sharply since the Islamic State (ISIS) group seized large parts of neighboring Syria and Iraq two years ago.
Jordan faces homegrown terrorism, with hundreds of Jordanians fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria and several thousand more supporting the ISIS in the kingdom. Jordan is a key US ally and a member of a US-led military coalition fighting ISIS.
Over the past year, terrorists have carried out several attacks on members of the Jordanian security forces and foreign trainers. Earlier this year, Jordanian security forces engaged in a deadly shootout with suspected ISIS sympathizers in a northern Jordanian town.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday released a statement condemning the attack. “On behalf of the people and government of Israel, I strongly condemn yesterday’s terrorist attack in Jordan. We send our sympathies to the families of the victims and wish the wounded a speedy and full recovery,” he said.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff