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The New Arab

Jordan: Seven Islamic State militants killed in security raid

Locals said the city was turned into a warzone during the anti-IS operation [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 March, 2016

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An overnight operation by Jordan's security forces in the northern city of Irbid ended on Wednesday morning with seven militants linked to the Islamic State group dead.
A major security operation targeting suspected Islamic terrorists in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid has ended, with at least eight killed, including one security officer.

Several others, including civilians, were injured.

Although the government's statement said the operation targeted "outlaws", sources in the city told The New Arab the security forces were after a number of extremists linked to the Islamic State [IS] group.

Seven were killed in the operation, while up to 30 suspects have been detained.

A Jordanian government source later officially confirmed the suspects were IS-linked terrorists.

Dozens of special forces clashed with militants holed up near a Palestinian refugee camp in the centre of the city, which is close to the Syrian border.

Witnesses in Irbid told The New Arab's correspondent the city became a warzone overnight, with gunbattles erupting until dawn and helicopters overflying the areas of operations.
The city became a warzone overnight, with gunbattles erupting until dawn and helicopters overflying the areas of operations
Prior to the operation, Jordanian security forces cut off electricity from large parts of Irbid and evacuated civilians close to where the raid took place.

Irbid is considered a stronghold of the Salafi movement. Unofficial sources say many adherents of the radical Salafi-Jihadi ideology in the city are sympathetic to the Islamic State group.

Security forces have carried out several raids in the north of the kingdom over the past few weeks, detaining extremists including non-Jordanian Arabs. Unlike the latest raid, those did not escalate into gun battles.

Jordan has tried and sentenced dozens of people, mostly Jordanians, who have returned from Syria, some of whom were recruited by Syria's al-Qaeda offshot Nusra Front or IS.

In a tighter crackdown on followers of radical Islamist groups since last year, it has also arrested dozens of sympathisers who show support for such groups on social media.

Jordan's military has conducted sorties against IS hideouts in Syria.

Since the civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, hundreds of Jordanians have joined Sunni militant groups fighting in the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have meanwhile fled across the border and are now living in Jordan, some in refugee camps.

Jordan has long been vigilant about the risk of militant strikes in a country that has suffered such attacks before, notably bombings on Amman hotels by al-Qaeda-linked militants during the US occupation of Iraq.

Agencies contributed to this report

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