Nine people – including a Canadian tourist and five police officers – have been killed in a shooting at a castle in Jordan.
Three Jordan nationals have also been killed in the attacks after a number of armed men opened fire in what are believed to have been assaults delilberately targeted against police officers and tourists. Karak is famous for its castle and is a hot spot for tourists.
Shots could be heard ringing out in different ares of Karak before gunmen took tourists hostage in the city’s medieval castle. Officers stormed into the fortress to rescue people who were being held inside. In total it is believed that nine people died and 29 were injured, some seriously.
A former government minister has said that there are initial indications that Islamist militants were responsible for the assault. However, the government has not come out and said that.
The former minister Sameeh Maaytah said that the operation was continuing and that criminals were still inside the castle. In another assault planned at around the same time, police who were responding to reports of a fire at a house in Qatraneh, which is around 25 miles outside of the city, were injured by gunman. Shots were also reported to have been fired at a police station in Karak, wounding a number of police officers and passersby.
Reports about the number of gunmen differ. While some authorities said they believed five or six gunmen were involved, Prime Minister Hani Mulki said there were 10 inside the castle.
Addressing parliament, Mr Mulki said that police and security forces were now hunting down the gunmen. He confirmed that several members of security personnel had died in the assault.
The Canadian government has confirmed that one of its nationals is among the dead. So far, no group has come forward to take responsibility for the attacks.