03/02/2016, 09.32
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Jordanian soldiers clash with suspected jihadis on the border with Syria

Battle at Irbid, 80km north of the capital. Authorities impose a curfew. Clashes triggered by security forces raid against extremist groups. Other sources speak of "criminals", without specifying. Two Jordanian officers injured.


Amman (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least five people were killed in clashes yesterday between Jordanian security forces and suspected jihadists in the northern city of Irbid, near the border with Syria.

The fighting, which lasted for most of the day was concentrated in the border town about 80 km north of the capital. Following the conflict, authorities declared a curfew.

A senior officer in Amman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said clashes were sparked by a security operation against a group of armed men, suspected of belonging to the Islamic State. Another source, speaking to Petra newsagency, speaks of four "criminals" and a Jordanian army captain who were killed.

During the operation two soldiers and two civilians were injured; one person has been arrested.

Irbid is several kilometers from the Syrian border and is the place where the Jordan police often stop and arrest drug traffickers and jihadists, who seek to join extremist groups in Syria. Jordan is part of the international US-led coalition that is conducting air raids and bombardments against the Daesh militiamen [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State] in Iraq and Syria.

The country has so far been spared from the violence and conflict, but has lived and lives the drama of the refugees fleeing from the war to the two neighboring Arab countries. Amman has so far received more than 630 thousand (but the government says this number is closer to about 1.4 million) of the estimated 4.6 million Syrian refugees who have sought shelter outside.

In recent weeks, AsiaNews sources in Jordan had sounded the alarm: the country is "on the brink of collapse", it is struggling to withstand the waves of refugees who "keep coming" and there is a real risk of it becoming "unstable" although " so far the government has managed to stay in control".

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