By Mohammed Abo Hmaed and Hicham Sawalqah
AMMONNEWS - The Jordanian General Intelligence Department (GID) announced on Sunday foiling a major terrorist attack that was in the planning stages by a group of 11 Jordanian nationals.
"Jordan is targeted by a number of fronts that want to spread chaos in the country," Minister of State for Media Affairs Samih Maaytah said.
Maaytah commended during a press conference held at the Prime Ministry the role of the intelligence department in protecting the country, adding that foiling this attempt reveals the strength of the nation and its agencies in defending itself and protecting its citizens.
The Minister said that the 11 individuals who were arrested as part of this operation are all Jordanian nationals who came from Syria and follow the ideology of Al Qaeda, adding that the group was identified and monitored since they entered Jordan from Syria.
"It was a terrorist cell planning the attacks," the minister said, adding that the 11 individuals constitute all members of the cell, and that no other members are still at large.
The Minister added that the state agency had secretly monitored the group of 11 individuals since last June and was up to date on their movements and plans.
"The planned attacks targeted shopping centers and innocent civilians, which expresses terrorist and violent thought," Maaytah added, noting that Jordan has learned from the November 9, 2005 triple suicide bombings attacks on hotels, which only solidified the country.
He added that the state acknowledges the magnitude of challenges facing the country, urging all Jordanians to work to protect it.
An official statement on Sunday revealed that the terror cell had targeted shopping centers, diplomatic missions, and residential areas, particularly where foreign nationals frequent, targeting the upscale Abdoun district in Western Amman.
Asked whether the foiled plot will affect Jordan's commitment to dealing with the influx of Syrian refugees, the Minister stressed that Jordan will continue to provide safe refuge for Syrians.
The Minister also denied that military installations were targeted, adding that the case targeted Jordan's national security and has been referred to the State Security Court, Jordan's military tribunal that hears cases related to national security and terrorism.
"Foiling the plot is a message to the world that Jordan is strong, thanks to its agencies, awareness of its citizens, and wisdom of its leadership," Maaytah said earlier on Sunday on Jordan TV.
He stressed that the whole region is going through difficult times that necessitate caution and awareness, adding that Jordan's intelligence agency is performing its duty effectively.