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HomeWorldArmed gunmen attack police patrols in Jordanian city of Karak, casualties reported

Armed gunmen attack police patrols in Jordanian city of Karak, casualties reported

AMMAN Unidentified armed gunmen fired at several police patrols in drive-by shootings in the southern Jordanian city of Karak with reports of several casualties, security sources said.

They said the attackers were being pursued in an ancient castle in the mountainous city where some of the assailants had taken cover after shooting at a nearby police station.

Police dispatched special forces to hunt the attackers with an unconfirmed report that at least five police officers were injured and one bystander hurt, according to one source.

A militant attack was not ruled out, the security sources said. There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Several incidents over the past year have jolted the Arab kingdom, which has been relatively unscathed by the uprisings, civil wars and Islamist militancy that have swept the Middle East since 2011.

Jordan is among a few Arab states that have taken part in a U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State militants holding territory in Syria. But many Jordanians oppose their country’s involvement, saying it has caused violent deaths of fellow Muslims and raised security threats inside Jordan.

Officials worry about radical Islam’s growing profile in Jordan and support in impoverished areas for militant groups.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Keith Weir and Elaine Hardcastle)

-Reuters