Amman closes Syrian border after attack on refugee camp leaves six soldiers dead

A truck packed with explosives hit an army post near the Rukban refugee camp. The bomber crossed the border from Syrian territory. All movement of vehicles and people suspended. Strong condemnation of Christian leaders, who speak of "cowardly terrorist act".


Amman (AsiaNews) - Jordanian authorities have declared border regions with Syria and Iraq"closed military zones". The decision follows the suicide bombing yesterday that has cost the lives of six soldiers. 14 others were wounded. There has been official claim for the attack on the refugee camp in the Rukban district, launched across the border in Syria.

At this time many citizens took part in a candlelight vigil in the capital, Amman, in memory of the victims of the attack.

Even the Jordanians Christian leaders have strongly condemned the attack, speaking of "a cowardly terrorist act". Fr. Rif'at Bader, director of the Center for Catholic Studies and Media (CCSM), points out that terrorism has unveiled once more "its barbarism, brutality and contempt of every human, religious and moral value". He spoke of the value of national unity and called for God's protection on the Hashemite leadership.

The attack yesterday is the first of its kind in Jordanian territory since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in March 2011. The suicide bomber, on board a truck stuffed with explosives launched at full speed along the border between Syria and Jordan, in the northeast of the country, crashed into a station of Amman border guards.

In an official statement the Jordanian army said that "every movement of vehicles and people" in the area of the attack "that are not authorized" by the authorities will be considered "enemy targets and" dealt with firmly and without indulgence". The order, the document adds, has "immediate" effect.

Jordanian Information Minister, Mohammed Momani, told the BBC that there has been a state of alert for possible attacks by militants for months, including Islamic State jihadists, prime suspects in yesterday’s attack.  Militants of the extremist group could be hiding among Syrian refugees amassed across the border. He added that the Jordanian people are outraged by this attempt to undermine the security and stability of the nation.

Government authorities have also suspended the sending and distribution of all humanitarian aid in the area of ​​the attack, stressing that such actions threaten the very lives of refugees. Even today tens of thousands of Syrians are stuck in this desert border, waiting to enter Jordanian territory.

Moreover, Jordan is one of the countries, along with Lebanon, which has paid the highest price in terms of the flow of refugees from the war zones in Syria and Iraq. According to UN sources, there are at least 635 thousand refugees in the country.  Yet Amman says the figure is even higher: 1.4 million, about 20% of the population. 130 thousand are Iraqis and 1.3 million Syrians, but this figure does not include unregistered refugees.