Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 - Jordan

Jordan remained vigilant against terrorism in 2000. On 18 September, the State Security Court convicted several Sunni extremists, some in absentia, for plotting terrorist attacks against US and Israeli targets during the millennium celebrations in late 1999. The accused allegedly acted on behalf of Usama Bin Ladin. The three-member military tribunal sentenced eight defendants to death but immediately commuted two of the sentences to life imprisonment at hard labor, citing family reasons. Six others, including a minor, were acquitted, while the remaining 14 received prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half to 15 years. Lawyers for 10 of the convicted men have appealed the verdicts.

On 9 December the State Security Court indicted Ra'id Hijazi, a US-Jordanian dual national who had been sentenced to death in absentia in January for having had a role in the millenial plot. He had been recently remanded by Syria. Khalil Deek, another US-Jordanian dual citizen, was brought to Jordan from Pakistan in December 1999 to face charges in the plot but at year's end had yet to be tried. Jordanian authorities were handling his case separately from the other suspects.

Two Israeli diplomats in Jordan were targets of shooting attacks in the latter part of the year. An unidentified gunman shot at Israeli Vice Consul Yoram Havivian outside his home in Amman on 19 November. On 5 December, an unidentified gunman wounded another Israeli diplomat, Shlomo Ratzabi, as he, his wife, and bodyguard left a grocery store in Amman. Both diplomats suffered minor injuries and returned to Israel soon after the attacks. By year's end, Jordanian authorities had detained several suspects and were continuing their investigation. Two previously unknown groups, the Movement for the Struggle of the Jordanian Islamic Resistance and the Holy Warriors of Ahmad Daqamseh, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which coincided with rising public sympathy in Jordan for Palestinians in ongoing violence with Israel. (Ahmad Daqamseh is a Jordanian soldier currently serving a life sentence for killing six Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.)

Jordan continued to ban all HAMAS activity, and the Supreme Court upheld the expulsion of four Political Bureau leaders. Jordan's Prime Minister reiterated the government's conditions for their return at a meeting with HAMAS leaders during the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in Doha in November. The conditions reportedly included a renunciation of their HAMAS affiliation. In December, lawyers for the group announced their intention to appeal once again to Jordan's Supreme Court to contest the deportation. Jordan refused to permit HAMAS military wing members to reside or operate in the country but allowed other lower-level HAMAS members to remain in Jordan provided they did not conduct activities on the group's behalf.

Several low-level incidents kept security forces focused on combating threats to Jordan. Police in the southern city of Ma'an in January detained 15 suspects in connection with two shooting attacks against a female dormitory at Al-Hussein University. Four women were injured slightly in one attack. Police sources reported that the suspects were affiliated with a group called the Islamic Renewal and Reform Organization. Before the attacks, leaflets denouncing coeducation and calling for women to wear veils were distributed on campus.

The Government of Jordan also regularly interdicted the smuggling across Jordan's borders of weapons and explosives, which, in many cases, may have been destined for Palestinian rejectionist groups in the West Bank and Gaza. The government prosecuted individuals suspected of such activity.

In March, the government expelled eight Libyans it suspected of having terrorist links, and in September it refused entry to the leader of Israel's Islamic Movement, Shaykh Ra'id Salah. The Israelis publicly claimed that followers of Shaykh Salah have links to HAMAS and were involved in plans to conduct terrorist operations against Israeli interests earlier in the year.

Jordanian security forces coordinated closely with the US Embassy on security matters and acted quickly to bolster security at US Government facilities in response to other threats, including one against the US Embassy in June 2000.


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