AMMAN, Jordan — Four Jordanian police officers and a Canadian tourist were shot and killed by gunmen in the southern city of Karak on Sunday, according to a statement from the Public Security Department.
The violence began when a police patrol was sent to check on reports of a house on fire. When the police arrived on the scene, they were met with a barrage of gunfire from inside the home, injuring two officers. The gunmen fled the scene, according to the police statement.
Gunmen then attacked a police station in the city.
Later in the day, the police were informed that gunmen were hiding inside the Karak Crusader castle, a prominent tourist attraction on a hilltop.
The police statement confirmed the death of four policemen and a female Canadian tourist in the area, without specifying exactly where the deaths had occurred.
Prime Minister Hani Mulki, addressing members of Parliament, said that several people had been killed and that Jordan’s special forces had surrounded an area in the city where five or six of the suspected attackers were holed up. The prime minister added that there was no information about the attackers or their motives, but described them as “outlaws.”
Terrorist attacks in Jordan, a crucial ally of the United States in the region, are relatively rare, but the country is constantly on alert because of the threat posed by extremists, particularly from the Islamic State.