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ISIS claims responsibility for Jordan attack that killed Canadian

Jordan plays a key role in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State group


 

AMMAN, Jordan — The extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a series of shooting attacks on police and tourists in Jordan that killed 10 people, including a woman from Canada.

Sunday’s shootings were the bloodiest in Jordan in recent memory and raised new concerns about the rise of Islamic militancy in the pro-Western kingdom.

Jordan plays a key role in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State group, which seized large areas in neighbouring Iraq and Syria in 2014 and proclaimed a “caliphate” there.

The shootings took place in the central Jordanian town of Karak.

Linda Vatcher, a 62-year-old from Newfoundland, was among those killed in the attack. She had recently travelled to the Middle East to spend Christmas with her son, Chris, who was reportedly working as a teacher in the region.

The mother and son were visiting a Crusader castle popular with tourists in Karak when gunmen assaulted Jordanian police in a series of attacks. Christopher Vatcher was said to have jaw injuries, and was being treated at a hospital in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

Four gunmen were shot and killed by Jordanian security forces during the standoff at Karak Castle.

The Islamic State group’s claim of responsibility for the attack was published Tuesday on “Shumoukh al-Islam,” a password-protected website affiliated with the extremist group.

The statement said that “four soldiers of the caliphate” armed with machine-guns and hand grenades carried out the attacks, killing 10 “apostates.” It said the four fighters were engaged in “fierce clashes lasting several hours” with Jordanian forces before being killed.

The statement threatened more attacks in anti-Islamic State coalition member states. “We promise the Crusader coalition countries something worse and more severe, Allah permitting …” it said.

Jordanian officials have refused to identify the attackers.

Seven members of the Jordanian security forces, two local bystanders and Vatcher were killed in the attacks which also left 34 people wounded.

Jordan has been facing homegrown extremism; hundreds of Jordanians are fighting alongside other Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and several thousand more are believed to support the extremist group in the kingdom.

Sunday’s shootings were the latest in a series of attacks over the past year that have challenged the pro-Western kingdom’s claim to be an oasis of stability in a region increasingly threatened by Islamic extremists.

Earlier this year, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly cross-border attack from Syria on a Jordanian border post.


 
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