Israel’s eastern neighbor found itself wrestling with homegrown terrorism Sunday in an attack that took the lives of at least 10 people, including a Canadian tourist, and wounded 27 others. It began around 4 pm Sunday and continued through the night.
The attack in the city of Karak began at a house outside the town of Karak, where a shootout took place between police and gunmen, who then fled by car into the city, according to the Saudi-based Al Arabiya news site.
The attackers then opened fire on two police patrols, then raced to the famed nearby Karak Castle, an ancient Crusader edifice on the top of a hill in Karak province, and attacked the police station there.
Seven officers, two local citizens, and a female tourist from Canada were killed in the attack, which government minister and spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said bluntly was carried out by “terrorists.”
Tourists strolling through the castle admiring the architecture and scenery were taken hostage by the attackers. They were freed after nightfall, with police and other security forces still in a standoff with the terrorists.
Momani told state television that a manhunt to “eliminate” the gunmen had entered its final phase. He did not elaborate. “The security forces and gendarme are in the final stage and we don’t want to pre-empt news … we will be dealing with this group of terrorists and eliminate them,” Momani said.
Prime Minister Hani al Mulki informed the Jordanian parliament that “a number of security personnel” were killed, and that security forces were in the process of laying siege to Karak Castle.
Officials sent a helicopter to the Karak province, with the provincial governor saying that a terrorist group was behind the attack. Jordanian elite special forces have been deployed to hunt the terrorists.
Jordanian sources said that past midnight, officials were notified during a police patrol that a gas cylinder explosive was located inside the building. The terrorists renewed their gunfire as security forces arrived at the scene.Hana Levi Julian