Of all the possible places braced for ISIS terror attacks when Ramadan began, the first attack on the first day of the month-long fast was launched Monday, June 6, in Jordan. Five armed men, in two cars, attacked the Jordanian General Intelligence Command in the Baqaa Palestinian camp, near the capital Amman.
Three armed men left their car, while two remained at the wheel. The three entered the command building and opened fire, killing five intelligence personnel. They then retreated to their cars and drove away.
No organization took responsibility for the attack.
debkafile sources on terrorism report that this ranked as a classical terrorist operation, in which the killers appear suddenly, kill their prey and disappear without leaving traces.
For a country with advanced intelligence and counter terror agencies, which posts armed security personnel at every city corner and junction, backed by the presence of American special forces trained to fight terror targets, this attack was a grave warning.
How did they all come to be caught unawares?
But this was not just a warning for Jordan but for Israel as well.
If armed groups, consisting of Palestinians who joined ISIS, are able to move freely around Jordan, without the local intelligence and security forces catching on, there is no guarantee that killer-squads will not cross the Jordanian-Israeli security fence or infiltrate Israel through the southern Arava border for terror attacks in Israel.
Even though Jordan tries to keep its war against ISIS low profile, the kingdom tops the jihadists’ hit list, ahead even of the Euro-2016 games.
There are several reasons for this:
- The Jordanian intelligence’ undercover units behind the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Syria feed the Americans on-site information on ISIS. Data of this high quality is unavailable from any other source.
- These units mark targets for US air strikes.
- Jordanian intelligence officers engage Sunni tribal chiefs across Iraqi and Syrian borders to persuade them to fight against ISIS. These Jordanian officers have joined the Sunni fighters in the battle for Fallujah in Iraq.
- Jordan, with US assistance, is now building one of the longest security fences, 442km, and the most advanced in the Middle East along all its borders with Iraq and Syria.
- The westernmost segment of this Jordanian border wall will also serve Israel. It will block off corridors running through the Syria-Jordan-Israel border junction and so hold back ISIS from infiltrating the Golan and the Sea of Galilee region.
- Jordan is the only Arab nation to send its air force against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.
Just three months ago, on March, the Jordanian security forces raided the Irbid Palestinian refugee camp in northern Jordan, and tackled an ISIS cell set up in the camp, killing seven.
The recent terror attack shows that, while Jordanian intelligence and its special forces are deeply involved in the war against ISIS beyond Jordan's borders, the terror organization is gaining strength and abilities inside the kingdom, especially among the Palestinian population.