AMMAN – The Jordanian Public Security Department, or PSD, announced on Sunday that three men sought on terrorist charges were killed in a shootout with police near the kingdom’s southeastern borders.
Two of the three individuals slain in a police firefight on Saturday were inmates who had recently escaped from a rehabilitation centre, according to PSD.
The third individual was a member of the “Al-Husseiniya cell” and a “most wanted” fugitive who was implicated in the shooting of Col. Abdul Razzaq Al-Dalabeeh last December in Maan, a southern city rocked by protests against rising fuel costs.
Amer Sartawi, a PSD spokesperson, stated that police had located the escaped detainees’ refuge in an isolated area with rugged terrain near the Kingdom’s southeastern borders with Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Sartawi claimed that after being surrounded by trained security officers, the escaped prisoners fired automatic weapons at police, who then returned fire and killed them all.
Sartawi claimed the identities of the wanted men were uncovered through DNA tests and family members, and that an inquiry into the detainees’ prison escape was underway.
Al-Dalabeeh, Maan’s deputy police chief, was shot in the head while responding to rioters in Al-Husseiniya.
Three days later, on December 19, three more policemen were killed: Cap. Ghaith Rahahleh, 2nd Lt. Mutaz Najada, and Cpl. Ibrahim Shaqarin, during a raid on the hideaway of suspects suspected of killing Dalabeeh.
According to PSD, one of the suspects, a “militant who embraced the takfiri radical ideology,” was killed during the operation, while nine others were apprehended.
Jordanian King Abdullah swore to bring the culprits to justice during a visit to Al-Dalabeeh’s tribe’s condolence house, stating that violence against the state, vandalism of public property, and violations of Jordanians’ rights will be dealt with harshly.
Assaults and vandalism, he warned, are “dangerous threats to national security,” and he added, “We will not tolerate violence against our security personnel, who work day and night to protect Jordan and Jordanians.”
The nine suspects captured in the December operation were recently tried at the State Security Court.
According to PSD, one of them was tried in absentia and is suspected to be among those killed in the manhunt operation.
The suspects face a slew of charges, including terrorist act orchestration, membership in an organisation with the goal of committing terrorist acts against Jordanians, possession of weapons with the intent to carry out terrorist activities, and membership in terrorist, armed factions.
They are also charged with plotting to commit terrorist actions and spreading terrorist organisation philosophies.
The eight accused who appeared in court entered not guilty pleas, and defence attorneys presented their reasons.
Truck drivers have staged periodic strikes and sit-ins in the southern cities of Maan, Tafileh, and Karak in protest of rising gasoline prices.
According to police, some of the strikes turned violent, with protestors targeting government buildings and security officers.
Source: Arab News