Jordan army chief says IS acquired anti-aircraft missiles

Jordan army chief says IS acquired anti-aircraft missiles
Mahmoud Freihat has spoken of a new threat posed by Islamic State, but could not comment on where IS got their missiles from.
2 min read
01 January, 2017
A shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile, as used by a Lebanese fighter in 2005 [AFP]

The head of Jordan's armed forces has warned that Islamic State (IS) may have acquired anti-aircraft missiles in the area bordering Syria and Israel.

Mahmoud Freihat told the BBC that IS held the missiles near the Golan Heights and that they were of unknown origin.

"This [IS] faction is a constant and close threat to Jordan," he said.

"Some of the areas its fighters are in are a kilometre away from the border."

IS may have acquired the missiles after they seized Russian armaments abandoned in Palmyra, or they could have been taken from Syrian rebels that were armed by the United States.

According to Freihat, Jordan was taking an active role in training various rebel forces in Syria and Iraq to fight against Islamic State.

Referring to the Iraqi Shia paramilitary forces, Hashd al-Shaabi, Freihat also warned that other rebel forces were being used by Iran as a proxy force to exert influence from Iraq to Lebanon.

Freihat was appointed to his role by King Abdullah in October as part of a major shake-up of the country's military in favour of a younger and more tech-savvy command.

"The king wants the Jordanian Armed Forces to be a young, mobile, professional, digital army that uses the latest technology," said Aref Zabin, the former commander of special forces.