Jordanian intelligence foiled a terrorist plot that targeted Western diplomats and foreign nationals, and arrested 11 members of a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Jordanian state news agency reported on Sunday.
The al-Qaeda affiliated cell reportedly fashioned its own explosive devices and planned to smuggle additional munitions into Jordan from Syria. The group also acquired explosives and expertise from members of al-Qaeda in Iraq through terrorist websites.
Government spokesman Sameeh Maaytah said the suspects are all Jordanian and are in police custody.
Jordanian television released images of the suspects that Jordan’s General Intelligence Department had been tracking since June. Authorities confiscated submachine guns, electronics, materials for devising explosives, and forged documents.
The attackers allegedly intended to carry out shootings and bombings at targets — including malls and hotels — in the Jordanian capital of Amman, the Jordanian News Agency reported. The state news agency added that the plot was aimed at causing “chaos and anarchy and spreading fear among the population, setting the stage for further operations to follow.” The attacks’ targets were ”shopping centers, residential areas, diplomats and foreign nationals.”
The plot was believed to have been scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the November 9, 2005, terrorist attack in Amman, in which 60 people were killed and 115 injured in multiple bombings at hotels.
Jordanian news reported that the terrorist group planned to attack two Amman malls to tie down security forces, then assault other targets with car bombs, suicide bombers, and machine guns.