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Key Anti-ISIS Intelligence Officials Gunned Down In Palestinian Refugee Camp

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Five employees of the Jordanian intelligence service were gunned down in the Palestinian refugee camp of Baq’qa Monday.

Jordanian Government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani called the incident a “terrorist attack” on state television. Baq’qa is the largest Palestinian camp in Jordan, and houses nearly 70,000 refugees.

“The attack was most likely carried out by a lone wolf or sleeper cells affiliated with the Islamic State,” Hassan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian expert on Islamic extremism, told the New York Times. “Most likely they targeted this particular spot because they thrive on creating divisions within society and want to wreak havoc.”A security official told Agence France Presse the attack was likely carried out by a lone gunman with an automatic weapon.

Jordan is a key Arab ally of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State and has carried out airstrikes against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. A Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS was shockingly burned alive in a cage by the terrorist group, sparking domestic outrage and accelerating Jordanian anti-ISIS efforts. Jordan has also opened Prince Hassan Air Base to the U.S.-led coalition, significantly reducing flight time to Syria to bomb ISIS and enabling the coalition to carry out more strikes.

No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. Terrorist attacks within Jordan are rare despite the country’s proximity to Iraq and Syria. A Jordanian police officer gunned down five people in November, including two Americans, at a US backed counter-terrorism training center in Amman.

Hussam Abdallat, a former senior Jordanian official, speculated to Al Jazeera the attack may have been carried out near a Palestinian camp to stir Jordanian discontent with the large Palestinian refugee population. “We hope this is not the case, because Jordanians must stay united, especially in times like this,” he added.

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