By Rana Husseini
AMMAN — Four terrorists were killed in a security operation in the southern governorate of Karak on Sunday after 10 people were killed in attacks, including four police officers and three gendarmes.
Two civilians and a Canadian citizen were killed, while 22 other civilians and police officers were injured when four gunmen stormed the southern city and fired at security and civilians before heading to the Karak Castle, official sources said.
Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani told The Jordan Times that the Kingdom will remain resilient against attempts to disturb its stability and security, extending Jordan’s condolences to the Canadian government over the loss of the Canadian national.
Momani and the Public Security Department (PSD) said all the civilians who were trapped in the Karak Castle when the terrorists withdrew there were freed following a five-hour rescue operation.
Security forces evacuated people who were residing near the Karak castle, a resident who preferred anonymity, told The Jordan Times.
“The forces closed all main entries to the town and asked residents to stay at home and follow security instructions,” the resident said.
Several videos that circulated on social media on Sunday purported dozens of residents carrying armed weapons and “pledging to help security forces to fight the terrorists.”
Other video clips captured armored vehicles and gendarmerie forces as they entered the city heading to the castle.
A second witness, a 23-year-old accountant, said four men entered the city with a vehicle and clashed with police.
“They were firing randomly and many people were injured,” the eyewitness told The Jordan Times over the phone.
“I hid under a vehicle to avoid the flying bullets but several people were injured from the fire exchange between the suspects and the security forces,” the eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, said.
He added that the suspects then headed to the castle and took hostages there. Momani said there were no hostage taking, but rather people were trapped and then freed.
“Several security forces and sharp shooters surrounded the castle, while helicopters hovered over the ancient ruins,” he added.
The PSD issued a statement earlier in the day saying that the incident occurred when a police unit responded to a fire alert that erupted in a house in Qatraneh to the north of Karak.
“Unidentified assailants fired at the officers, injuring two of them then fled in a vehicle,” the PSD statement said.
Shortly afterwards, the statement added, the terrorists shot at a police patrol in the Karak governorate followed by more shots at a police station when they took refuge in the castle.
He said Special Forces have surrounded an area in the southern city where 10 of the suspected attackers were entrenched in.
Addressing a Parliament session earlier in the day, Prime Minister Hani Mulki said there was no information on the attackers, describing them as “outlaws”.
He said the incident started in Qatraneh town, north of Karak, when the unknown assailants opened fire from a cafe’s rooftop at a police patrol. Later on, he said, they targeted other patrols in the governorate.
Source: The Jordan Times.