June 25, 2024 | The Jerusalem Post

Jordanian explosives case leaves Amman security forces searching for clues

Jordanian security services revealed that explosives were seized in a commercial store in the Abu Alanda area, a neighborhood east of Amman.
June 25, 2024 | The Jerusalem Post

Jordanian explosives case leaves Amman security forces searching for clues

Jordanian security services revealed that explosives were seized in a commercial store in the Abu Alanda area, a neighborhood east of Amman.

A security incident with wider ramifications is unfolding in the Kingdom of Jordan this week. According to recent reports explosives have been seized in two locations in Amman, the capital. The story began in an area called Marka which is near an old airport. Later a second site in Abu Alanda was uncovered.

Jordanian security services revealed that explosives were seized in a commercial store in the Abu Alanda area, a neighborhood east of Amman. Reports emerged on June 24 about the developing case. A Reuters report has said the explosives are linked to an Iranian plot.

The first incident took place over the weekend in Marka. Security services said on Monday night that they had “surrounded and isolated a commercial store in the area that was used to store explosives since the morning.” The first site was near an old airport that is used by the military, according to Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic media site.

A statement from the authorities in Amman said that “experts from the Royal Engineering Corps and security services dealt with these materials and detonated them at the site, after taking the necessary precautions, including isolating and evacuating the area, without recording any casualties.”

The size of the operation and the fact areas of these communities were closed to the public have added to the mystery. Authorities have tried to crack down on rumors, saying the public should not trust any leaks. However, the questions are now being raised about whether the explosives are linked to criminals, the drug trade, terrorism or even Iran.

“The new threats that Jordanian security is dealing with are those coming from the northern border with Syria, and the eastern border with Iraq, where operations targeting Jordanian security through infiltration attempts and weapons and drug smuggling do not subside,” the report at Asharq noted.

Trying to destabilizing the Kingdom

Iranian-backed militias have been threatening Jordan and seeking to destabilize the Kingdom via various means. One goal is to weaken the Kingdom so weapons can be smuggled to terrorists in the West Bank. Another goal is to move drugs from Syria via Jordan to the Gulf. Iran operates in Iraq and seeks to attack US forces in Jordan.

A Reuters report said that “Jordanian security forces said they uncovered and detonated explosives hidden in a commercial warehouse in an industrial area southeast of the capital Amman on Monday that security sources say were part of an Iran-linked plot to destabilize a key US ally.”

It further noted “witnesses earlier said security forces had sealed the Abu Alanda area in a wide scale security operation two days after authorities announced they had detonated explosives uncovered in another location in the capital.”

Jordan’s security services said that on June 24 “security services have cordoned off and isolated a commercial store in the area that was used to store explosives.” They also noted that the “operations ended with the highest levels of professionalism and craftsmanship, without any significant injuries or damage.”

The statement also noted “we call on everyone to adhere to the information issued by the official authorities, cooperate with the security personnel present at the site, stay away from the site, and give those concerned the opportunity to deal with the issue without any influences. The case is still under investigation and all details will be published once they are completed.” 

On June 25, two days later, there were no new updates from the Jordanian authorities. Despite the initial attention, it now appears that there is a preference that less spotlight will be put on this case. Authorities may be searching for clues, however the overall story of what happened this week in Marka and Abu Alanda is unclear.

The Kingdom does appear to be targeted by elements, some local and some apparently in Iraq, Iran and Syria, that want to destabilize Amman

Seth Frantzman is the author of Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machine, Artificial Intelligence and the Battle for the Future (Bombardier 2021) and an adjunct fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Issues:

Gulf States Iran Iran Global Threat Network Jordan