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14 Dead in Jordan Shooting Attacks

  • VOA News

Jordanian security forces stand next to their armored vehicle at the scene next to Karak Castle, during an ongoing attack, in the central town of Karak, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of the capital Amman, Jordan, Dec. 18, 2016.

Authorities in Jordan say security forces have freed foreign tourists trapped inside a medieval castle in the central city of Karak, following attacks Sunday by gunmen that left at least 14 people dead. At least 22 others, including civilians and police, were reported wounded.

The Jordan Times newspaper said a Canadian woman and at least five police were among the dead, along with four people later identified by security sources as terrorists.

The report said most of the casualties were inflicted elsewhere in the mountainous city of 70,000 residents, before the gunmen stormed the 12th century castle, apparently seeking refuge in one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.

The newspaper quoted a public security spokesman as saying civilians trapped in the castle were freed after a five-hour security operation, and they said nearby civilians also were evacuated as all main entry points to the city were shut down.

Police said the gunmen had entered Karak from Qatraneh, a fortress town 30 kilometers northeast of the city.

There were no claims of responsibility by late Sunday, and authorities had not revealed details of any links between the gunmen and extremist groups in neighboring Syria.

Jordan, widely seen as an oasis of stability in the volatile Middle East, is participating in the U.S.-led air war against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq. That participation comes despite measurable Jordanian civilian opposition to the air campaign.

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