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Jordan knife attacker could face terror charge

Moustafa Abourouis carried out the attack [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2019

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Moustafa Abourouis, who was accused of stabbing eight people in the Jordanian city of Jerrash, is being charged with terrorism.
A man accused of stabbing eight people, including four tourists, in Jordan is set to soon appear before a military prosecutor and could be charged with "terrorism", a security source said Friday.

Moustafa Abourouis, 22, "is expected to face the prosecutor of the state security court within days for questioning and to be charged with terrorism," the source said. The court is a military tribunal.

On Wednesday, an assailant stabbed four tourists - three Mexicans and a Swiss woman - along with a Jordanian tour guide and a security officer at the famed Jerash archaeological site in northern Jordan.

"So far initial indications show that he acted on his own," the source said without providing further details about the ongoing investigation.

Read more: Cash-strapped Jordan government resigns ahead of reshuffle

The suspect was immediately arrested although the motive of the attack remained unknown.

Abourouis was identified as a Jordanian of Palestinian origin who lived in the Souf refugee camp near Jerash.

It was not the first time a Jordanian tourist attraction has been the site of an attack. 

In December 2016, in Karak, home to one of the region's biggest Crusader castles, 10 people - seven police officers, two Jordanian civilians and a Canadian tourist - were killed in an attack that also left 30 wounded. 

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group and 10 people were later convicted of carrying out the assault. Two were sentenced to death.

Tourism is a key lifeline for Jordan - a country lacking in natural resources and reliant on foreign aid - accounting for 14 percent of GDP in 2019.

The kingdom, which shares borders with conflict-torn Syria and Iraq, has been working hard to revive its tourism industry and to bring the annual arrivals of holiday-makers to seven million by 2020.

Jordan is a relatively stable country but is subject to sporadic attacks.

A series of attacks by Islamic State group-linked militants in the southern Jordanian city of Kerak in 2016 left 14 people dead.

This included shootings in the well-known Crusader-era castle that is popular with tourists, although all but one of the dead was Jordanian.

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