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Jordan Detains 11 over ISIS Links

Jordan Detains 11 over ISIS Links

Thursday, 14 January, 2021 - 05:15
Jordanian policemen leave after ending security operations at the Crusader-era castle in Karak, where armed gunmen carried out an attack a day before, on December 19, 2016. Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

A Jordanian court on Wednesday handed heavy prison terms to 11 people convicted of joining ISIS terror group and of planning attacks against churches and security personnel in the kingdom.

Three of the defendants were sentenced in absentia after travelling to Afghanistan in 2019 to join the group in its fight against US forces and the Taliban.

They had stayed in touch with the other eight, who had been arrested ahead of planned attacks in Jordan under the banner of ISIS.

Their targets included security forces and churches in the Mafraq and Zarqa provinces, according to a charge sheet seen by AFP.

Zarqa was home to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of Iraq's Al-Qaeda franchise which was the predecessor to ISIS. Zarqawi was killed by a US air strike in 2006.

The eight defendants present in court on Wednesday were sentenced to between five and 15 years, while those who were in Afghanistan were handed terms of nine years.

The eight had been found guilty on charges including "plotting to carry out terrorist acts" and "attempting to join armed groups and terrorist organizations".

All the defendants were suspected of supporting ISIS.

The Jordanian intelligence services discovered the militants' plans and arrested them in 2019, according to the charge sheet.

Jordan, a member of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, has suffered a number of deadly militant attacks including one in December 2016 which left 10 people dead, mostly security personnel.

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