US Embassy in Jordan target of foiled Al Qaeda terror plot


Jordanian special forces demonstrate a mock hostage rescue operation at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre in Amman on May 27, 2012 during their "Eager Lion" military exercise which is described as the largest exercise in the Middle East in 10 years.



The US Embassy in Amman, Jordan was among the targets of a terrorist plot uncovered with the arrests of 11 Al Qaeda-linked militants bent on destabilizing that country’s pro-Western government.

Jordan’s General Intelligence Department announced the arrests today, and said militants planned to attack malls and cafes as distraction before launching an assault on government buildings, Reuters reported.

“Their plans included getting explosives and mortars from Syria,” an anonymous source told Reuters.

The four-month investigation led investigators to Iraq, where Al Qaeda’s explosive experts were helping the 11 men, who were all Jordanians, according to The Telegraph.

The aim was more death and destruction than the 2005 attack on hotels in Amman that killed 60 and injured 115, Jordan’s security service said.

The Telegraph compared the plot with the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India where suicide bombers and gunmen worked together.

More from GlobalPost: US task force lands in Jordan amid escalating tensions between Turkey, Syria

A security source told The Washington Post that Jordan might have saved scores of lives.

The Post said the US Embassy there was among the targets.

“This was a serious plan, with a great potential for loss of life,” the intelligence source told The Post.

“This may not have been a tipping point, but it could have been a very hard blow (to Jordan),” the former Western security source said.

Today’s arrests also prove that Syria’s degrading situation continues to make waves across the Middle East, The Post said.

Arms are leaking from Syria, the source said, creating great potential for unrest elsewhere.

“Weapons are everywhere right now, flowing from Iraq into Syria, and back and forth into Lebanon,” the anonymous source told the newspaper.

“The longer the conflict goes on, the worse it gets.”

Jordan is a key US ally.

More from GlobalPost: Jordan's King Abdullah II dissolves parliament, calls early elections