Jordan sentences IS suspects 'planning attacks on churches, tourists'

Jordan sentences IS suspects 'planning attacks on churches, tourists'
A Jordanian court sentenced two alleged supporters of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group to 15 years in prison on Wednesday, after convicting them of planning attacks.

2 min read
05 April, 2018
The two were planning attacks on churches and security forces [Getty]
Two alleged supporters of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group were sentenced to 15 years with hard labour in a Jordanian prison, after being convicted of planning attacks.

The men, both Jordanian, were found guilty of agreeing to carry out attacks against "churches, foreign tourists and Jordanian soldiers" at the request of a member of the extremist group.

They were arrested before being able to carry out their plans, according to Jordan's state security court.

Jordan, a key US ally, has used its own air force and allowed US-led coalition forces to use its bases to battle IS in Iraq and Syria.

The kingdom was hit by a string of attacks in 2016, including a suicide bombing in June that killed seven guards near the border with Syria that was claimed by IS.  

Months later in December a shooting rampage, also claimed by IS, killed 10 people including a Canadian tourist.

Since then, Jordan has toughened sentences handed down against alleged supporters and members of militant groups, and tightened security at its border.

Last month, Jordan opened a US-funded counter-terrorism centre where law enforcement officers from partner countries in the Middle East and beyond can practice shooting, storming hideouts and responding to bomb threats.

The Jordan Gendarmerie Training Academy is the second such facility in the pro-Western kingdom.

In recent years, Jordan has upgraded its fight against militants and criminals, in large part with US backing, setting up a national emergency call centre, a network of street surveillance cameras and databases for DNA, ballistics and fingerprints.

Jordan's importance to Washington was apparent earlier this year when the kingdom was promised $1.275 billion a year in US economic and military aid through 2022, an increase of 27 percent. 

Jordan faces domestic and external threats from extremists, even though the once powerful IS militant group has largely been defeated in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Agencies contributed to this report.