Jordan does not fear ISIL militants — interior minister

by Khaled Neimat | Jun 30, 2014 | 23:49

AMMAN — A security buffer zone of around 400 kilometres separates Jordan’s border from the military operations in Iraq, an MP who attended a closed-door meeting with the government said on Monday.

Deputy Yihya Saud (Amman, 2nd District) quoted Interior Minister Hussein Majali as saying “there are 400-500 kilometres next to our borders with Iraq and inside Iraq, free from any military operations or the presence of members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL]”.

Although several international media outlets have reported that Jordan faces immediate danger due to the instability in both Iraq and Syria, Majali reiterated that the Kingdom is capable of dealing with any attempt to target its borders from Iraq or Syria.

His meeting with MPs was held to discuss the impact of the ongoing crisis in the neighbouring countries on the Kingdom’s security and stability, and the current security campaign in Maan, some 220km south of Amman.

“We will not fear ISIL’s militants and their pickup trucks,” Majali told the deputies, according to Saud.

“Our soldiers and security forces are capable of protecting our borders,” the minister stressed.

After the meeting, several MPs expressed their dissatisfaction with the information provided by the government.

“The information provided to us was not new, it was all published previously,” MP Mustafa Shneikat (The People list), who attended the meeting, told The Jordan Times.

Another deputy who spoke on condition of anonymity agreed, saying the information did not include anything major.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who took part in the meeting, declined to talk to the press.

Majali also spoke about the security raids in Maan, noting that the operations in the southern city are meant to bring some outlaws to justice. “It is a security matter,” he told the MPs, according to parliamentary sources.

In the latest incident in Maan, two Gendarmerie officers were shot and injured, one critically, by unidentified assailants late Sunday night while they were on patrol, according to official sources.

Last week, one man was killed and five people were injured, including three gendarmes, in a security raid on a house in the city to detain a wanted suspect, who is still on the run.

Maan MPs said at the meeting that the incidents in the city are also related to “social and economic matters, rather than being only about security”, according to parliamentary sources who attended the gathering.

The number of outlaws in Maan has increased to 31 after the latest campaign, according to Majali, who briefed the press following the meeting.

“We managed to arrest five out of the 19 [targeted] criminals, but now there are more people that should surrender to security forces,” the minister said.

At the end of the meeting, the MPs agreed to form a parliamentary committee that would initiate dialogue with Maan residents and leaders to bring the confrontation with security forces to an end.

Deputies said the committee will help government agencies restore order in the city. The members will head to Maan in the next few days to begin its mission, according to parliamentary sources.


Categories: Arab World, Asia, Jordan

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