CAIRO – At least seven people were killed in an explosion and intense shootout between the Jordanian police and a suspected extremist cell in the city of Salt, west of Amman, causing the partial demolition of a building, official sources reported on Sunday.
Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs, Jumana Ghunimat, was quoted by the official news agency Petra as saying that the casualties included three alleged extremists and four police officers.
“A joint force of the security forces went to Salt to arrest the extremists, who refused to surrender, opened fire intensively and also blew up the building with explosive devices they had placed earlier,” Ghunimat explained.
A part of the building collapsed due to the explosion and it is feared that the entire three-floor structure could collapse, so the Jordanian authorities have urged the neighbors to not go near the scene.
The Jordanian minister pointed out that the operation against the terror cell, which began on Saturday, is still underway, adding that security forces seized several automatic weapons and arrested five suspected extremists.
The intelligence services said the terror cell was allegedly involved in an attack with explosive devices on a police patrol on Friday outside the premises of a music festival in al-Fuhais, on the outskirts of Amman, where a security agent was killed and six others were wounded.
Authorities have not revealed details about the group responsible for the attack and provided no information about how many alleged extremists were in the raided building.
The latest major attack in Jordan took place in December 2016, when an attack was carried by a group linked to the Islamic State terror organization in the south of the country, killing seven police officers, three civilians and four extremists.