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Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 - Jordan

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Publication Date 1 April 2000
Cite as United States Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 - Jordan, 1 April 2000, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

There were no major international terrorist attacks in Jordan in 1999. Jordan continued its strong counterterrorist stand, highlighted by the arrests in December of several extremists reportedly planning terrorist attacks against US and Israeli tourists during millennium celebrations in Jordan, its crackdown on HAMAS in August, and its quick response to various security incidents in the latter part of the year.

In early December, Jordanian authorities arrested a group of Jordanians, an Iraqi, and an Algerian with ties to Bin Ladin's al-Qaida organization who reportedly were planning to carry out terrorist operations against US and Israeli tourists visiting Jordan over the new year. The Jordanians in mid-December took custody of Khalil al-Deek, a dual US-Jordanian citizen arrested in Pakistan, who allegedly had links to the arrested group. Some group members had undergone explosives and weapons training in Afghanistan, according to Jordanian authorities.

In late August, Jordanian authorities closed the HAMAS Political Bureau offices in Amman, detained 21 HAMAS members, and issued arrest warrants for the group's senior Jordan-based leaders, three of whom were in Iran at the time. Jordanian officials arrested two of the HAMAS officials – Jordanian citizens Khalid Mishal and Ibrahim Ghawsha – upon their return to Amman in September and refused entry to a third – Musa Abu Marzuq, who holds Yemeni citizenship. Jordanian authorities in November expelled Mishal, Ghawsha, and two other members to Qatar; released the remaining detainees; and announced that the HAMAS offices would remain closed permanently. Charges against the HAMAS officials included possession of weapons and explosives for use in illegal acts – crimes that can carry the death penalty.

Several low-level incidents kept security forces focused on combating threats to the Kingdom. Police in Ma'an detained approximately 60 suspects in connection with the firebombings on 25 October of cars belonging to professors at al-Hussein University and Ma'an Community College and a machinegun attack two days later on a female student residence at al-Hussein University. Leaflets distributed by a group calling itself the "Islamic Awakening Youths" charged that the professors were masons and that the female students fraternized with men. The assailants appeared to have ties to the outlawed al-Tahrir movement, which was the target of a government crackdown in 1998.

In late November, Jordanian authorities arrested a 22-year-old Jordanian of Palestinian descent who had pointed a fake gun at the Israeli Embassy in Amman. An Embassy guard shot the suspect in the hand, wounding him slightly. Authorities released him after it was determined that he had not committed any crime, had a history of mental problems, and was not affiliated with any terrorist group.

The Jordanian State Security Court in April sentenced members of the outlawed "Reform and Defiance Movement" – a small, mostly indigenous radical Islamist group – for conducting a string of small bombings in Amman between mid-March and early May 1998 targeting Jordanian security forces, the Modern American School, and a major hotel. The attacks caused minor property damage but no casualties. The individuals were convicted of membership in an illegal terrorist organization, possession of illegal arms and explosives, and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Three were convicted in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor, while another received a 15-year prison sentence. Three others were acquitted. Meanwhile, no ruling was issued against six members of the Takfir wa al-Hijra (Apostasy and Migration) group, whose case was referred to the courts in October 1998. The six had been arrested for possession and sale of explosives with the intent to conduct terrorist attacks.

Amman continued to maintain tight security along its borders to thwart any attempts to smuggle weapons and explosives via Jordan to Palestinian rejectionist groups in the West Bank. Jordan permitted the limited presence – and monitored closely the activities – of several Palestinian rejectionist groups, including the PIJ, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). Amman allowed HAMAS members to reside in Jordan but banned them from engaging in activities on behalf of the group.

The Jordanian Government was outspoken in its support for the Middle East peace process and made it clear it would not tolerate efforts to undermine the negotiations from its territory. Senior government officials, including King Abdallah, condemned major terrorist incidents in the region, including attacks by Palestinian rejectionist groups against Israeli targets. In October, Jordan hosted a meeting between leaders of the DFLP and Israeli Knesset members to discuss the possible entry of DFLP members into the Palestinian-controlled areas.

Jordan continued to cooperate with other regional states and the United States concerning terrorist threats to the region. In August the government refused to grant a request by a lower house of Parliament committee to pardon Ahmed Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier who killed six Israeli schoolgirls in 1997, and 11 Jordanian "Arab Afghans" serving life sentences for their conviction in 1995 for plotting against the state.

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