Jordanian security clash with suspected Islamist militants in Irbid | Reuters - Firstpost
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Jordanian security clash with suspected Islamist militants in Irbid | Reuters

Updated: Mar 2, 2016 02:46 IST

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AMMAN Jordanian security forces on Tuesday clashed with Islamist militants as part of a major manhunt in the northern city of Irbid, near the border with Syria, security forces said.

Riot police and special forces took part in the large scale operation which a security official described as one of the largest manhunts against sleeper cells of sympathisers of Islamist groups in recent years.

At least two security personnel were injured in the operations in which security forces deployed dozens of troops and helicopters, another security source said.

It was not immediately clear which group the militants represented. One source said they were suspected to be from Islamic State, another did not specify.

King Abdullah, a U.S. ally who has safeguarded his country's peace treaty with Israel, has been among the most vocal regional leaders voicing alarm about the threat from Islamic State, which has taken territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Since the civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, hundreds of Jordanians have joined Sunni militant groups fighting in the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

The country's powerful security forces have long been vigilant about the risk of militants striking in Jordan itself - a country that has suffered Islamist militancy before, notably bomb attacks on Amman hotels by al Qaeda-linked militants during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alison Williams)

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