The Jordanian government announced on Sunday that a plot to bomb western diplomatic missions and shopping malls throughout the country. The Jordanian police have made 11 arrests of Al-Qaeda militants across the country and confiscated a cache of weapons they say were smuggled into Jordan form Syria. Jordan has not seen a plot this substantial in 7 years, when Al-Qaeda launched a triple hotel bombing which left 60 people dead. At the time Al-Qaeda cited Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel and its alliance with the United States as the reason for the attacks.
Jordan’s ruling Hashemite Kingdom is home to 90% Palestinians. Its demographic issues and strong ties to the West make it a constant target of militant groups like Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Terror groups and militants linked to Iran have long hoped to destabilize Jordan to not only end Western influence but because of the strategic location of the country. Jordan shares a border with Syria, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia.
Jordanian government Spokesman Sameeh Maaytah said at a hastily arranged press conference:
“They were plotting deadly terror attacks on vital institutions, shopping centers and diplomatic missions. They sought to destabilize Jordan. They plotted against Jordan’s national security.”
In addition to publishing pictures of all the militants on state television and the internet the government branded the perpetrators and their associates “militants” as opposed to terrorists. The Jordanian government said the group had named the plot “9/11 The Second”
The Jordanian government also said that their intelligence services caught the suspects surveying targets across the country while actively bringing in rockets form Syria to use in the attacks. The attacks were supposed to be initiated in stages in order to escalate the tension over time and hopefully cause a major backlash against the king.
The plot originally was going to start with bombings at shopping malls and other sites of “vital national importance”. The attacks would escalate to rocket attacks on U.S., British and allied diplomatic missions and housing for diplomats.