Jordan has foiled a major Al Qaeda plot to destabilize the country by committing attacks in shopping malls and killing Western diplomats in Amman, the kingdom's state television reported on Sunday, citing Jordanian security sources.
Eleven suspects, all Jordanians were arrested, the TV report added. According to the sources, the attacks have been in preparation since June. Weapons and explosives were to be supplied from Syria. "They wanted to obtain explosives and mortars from Syria," one source close to the security services was quoted as saying. "Their goal was to make the most deaths possible."
The Jordanian Minister of Information, Samih al Maaytah, said the arrests underscored the threat posed by "terrorist groups" to the kingdom. He added that members of this group had stayed in Syria.
Source close to the Jordanian security services said they had fought alongside Islamist rebels against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.
Based on initial investigations, the suspects wanted to attack two major shopping centers in the Jordanian capital and also carry out bombing attacks in the district of Abdoun, where many foreign embassies are located.
"The group was able to prepare new types of explosives (...) and wanted to amplify the destructive effects by adding TNT," said a member of the security services.
The authorities have announced they seized large quantities of ammunition and machine guns. The group also planned to use suicide bombers with explosive belts and car bombs, said another member of the security services.
They received advice on the internet by explosives specialists based in Iraq.
In 2005, Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for three suicide bombings that had killed dozens at luxury hotels in Amman.