Sunday, November 05, 2006
Security Concerns in Amman
I am often asked by friends, "aren't you worried about visiting all these hot spots...?" I usually respond with the same answer... "the most dangerous portion of international travel is the drive to the airport." Especially when it is the Bush Int'l Airport in Houston!
Security Update from AMARC
I am sure some of you are concerned about the security situation in Jordan following the lone gunman’s attack on a visit tourist in Amman on September 4th. While no one can provide any 100% security guarantees, as a host organization hosting so many of our friends from around the world, I would like to reassure everyone that we are confident about the security situation for the upcoming Amarc9 conference. Please read the statement below of the Jordanian minister of tourism. The statement as well as a lot of other information about Jordan is available on the web site www.visitjordan.com .
and are pleased with the level of cooperation and preparation that the various Jordanian governmental- and especially- security agencies are doing to ensure the safety of tourists and visitors. We can safely say that while the region is still in turmoil because of events in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, that Jordan remains as a safe and secure country.
Safety in hotels has been effective ever since the tragic events of last year. The metal detectors that have been placed in major hotels (which includes the hotel that Amarc9 will take place in) has provided a strong sense of security. In addition to the technical protection visible police and local security companies are available in many locations. Our hotel has a private guard but during the conference will be supported by uniformed policemen the entire time of the conference. The uniformed police will be present at all official locations outside the hotel in which the AMARC9 participants will visit. In some cases we will also have uniformed police accompany the group on their various visits.
I reassure all that we will have a safe and secure conference as well. It will be an enriching event that will encourage many of you to come again to Jordan and the region.
A Jordanian gunman fired a dozen shots at a group of Western tourists visiting an ancient Roman amphitheater in central Amman Sept. 4, killing one British man, and wounding six other foreigners and a tourist police officer who was accompanying them. Despite being wounded, the officer subdued the gunman. The attacker was from the same region as the late leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but authorities announced that he acted alone and had no connection with a terrorist group.
Gunman Kills British Man and Wounds 6 in Jordan
By SUHA MAAYEH September 5, 2006
AMMAN, Jordan, Sept. 4 — A gunman opened fire on tourists visiting a popular site in downtown Amman on Monday afternoon, killing a British man and wounding six other people, Jordanian officials said.
Jordanian policemen secure the area around the Roman amphitheater in the center of Amman, Jordan, where tourists were attacked today by a gunman.
Hospital officials identified the dead man as Christopher Stoke, 53. Wounded in the shooting were two British women, an Australian woman, a woman from New Zealand, a Dutchman and a sergeant with the Jordanian Tourist Police, Jordanian officials said.
Jordan’s official news agency, Petra, identified the gunman as Nabeel Ahmad Issa Jaoura, 38, from Yajouz, near the Islamist stronghold of Zarqa. Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit said security officials were interrogating Mr. Jaoura and investigating whether he was acting alone or was part of a terrorist cell.
Officials said the shootings would be considered a terrorist act unless the gunman was found to be mentally unstable. It was the most serious attack of its kind since suicide bombers attacked three Amman hotels last November, killing 63 people. Nasser Joudeh, a government spokesman, said the police would be stepping up already tight security in the Jordanian capital and elsewhere.
“This is a cowardly, terrorist attack, which we regret took place on Jordanian soil,” Interior Minister Eid al-Fayez told reporters.
Witnesses said the shooting began shortly after midday when Mr. Jaoura, cleanshaven and dressed in jeans, opened fire on the group of tourists as they walked in the ancient Roman amphitheater in Amman, a popular tourist destination. He fired at least 15 bullets into the crowd, shouting “Allah-u akbar,” or “God is great.”
The wounded were taken to Al Bashir and the Prince Hamza hospitals, about one mile away. The two British women underwent surgery and were in intensive care Monday evening in critical but stable condition. Hospital officials said the 32-year-old Dutchman was recovering from a bullet wound in his abdomen, while the Australian woman had been treated for a bullet in her thigh. The tourist police sergeant, Awni Falah Ayed, was treated for bullet wounds in the chest and thigh. The condition of the New Zealand woman was not known.
Jordan says it has thwarted numerous plots against Jordanian landmarks and government buildings as well as against Western tourists. Last November, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia took responsibility for the attacks on the three Amman hotels, the deadliest terrorist act in the country’s history.
Excellent blog on the day-to-day turmoil from occupied Palestine.
Caution: this gal can be graphic in her song and dance.