Jordanian police raided an ancient crusader castle Sunday, releasing tourists who were taken hostage by suspected Islamist terrorists.
A Canadian tourist, two local civilians and seven police officers were killed during the raid on the castle located in the city of Karak, according to Reuters. At least 27 others were taken to the hospital with injuries, some critical. Jordanian forces confirmed they killed four “terrorist outlaws” who had taken the castle earlier the same day. A government statement noted they were armed with automatic weapons, large amounts of explosives and suicide belts.
— Rami (@RamiAILoIah) December 18, 2016
It is unclear which terrorist group is responsible for the attack. Though Jordan borders some Islamic State territory, the castle is located in the western region of the country, far from the terrorist group’s territory. Government officials were initially unwilling to acknowledge the assailants were Islamist terrorists while the siege was ongoing, according to Sameeh Maaytah, a former government minister who spoke with Reuters.
The Kerak castle dates back to 1142 CE, and is one of the largest castles ever built during the crusades. It is well preserved, making it very popular with foreign tourists.
Jordan is surrounded by several countries that fall victim to terrorist attacks regularly, though attacks inside the kingdom are not as common. The Jordanian government maintains close relations with the U.S. and allowed U.S. forces to operate HIMARS artillery systems inside its borders to help fight off ISIS in Syria.
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