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After Defending Israel From Iran: Jordan Foils Iranian-Hamas Sabotage Plot

Jordan foiled an Iranian-directed plot to smuggle weapons into the kingdom to opponents of the monarchy to commit acts of sabotage, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Iranian-backed militias in Syria sent weapons to a Muslim Brotherhood cell in Jordan that has ties with Hamas. The cell members, Jordanians of Palestinian descent, were arrested in March and the weapons were seized.

According to the Jordanian sources quoted by the report, the goal of the plot was to destabilize Jordan, which hosts a US military base and has a shared border with Israel, Syria and Iraq – home to Iranian-backed militias.

The sources didn’t provide details of which weapons were seized but they said that Jordanian security services have thwarted numerous Iranian-linked attempts in recent months to smuggle in arms, including 107mm Katyusha rockets, Claymore mines, C4 and Semtex explosives, and Kalashnikov rifles.

Most of the arms were intended to reach Palestinians in the Shomron but some, including those seized in March, were intended to be used in Jordan by the Muslim Brotherhood cell allied with Hamas.

“They hide these weapons in pits called dead spots, they take their location via GPS and photograph their location and then instruct men to retrieve them from there,” said one of the sources.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.  However, Jordan’s branch of the Brotherhood has operated legally in the kingdom for decades. Jordanian security officials believe that Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah are now trying to recruit young Jordanians affiliated with the Brotherhood and radicalize them with their anti-Israel, anti-US agenda.

A senior figure in Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood said that the actions of the members who were arrested in March were not approved by the group. Another senior Brotherhood figure told Reuters that the arrested cell members had been recruited by Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, who was assassinated in an Israeli-attributed drone strike in Beirut in January.

The report elaborated that Jordan’s King Abdullah is “walking a tightrope” between 11 million Jordanians of Palestinian origin and the kingdom’s US alliance and peace treaty with Israel.

Jordanian journalist Bassam Badari said that the disconnect between the government and public sentiment reached a peak in the wake of Jordan’s assistance in shooting down the drones Iran fired at Israel during its attack last month.

“There was discontent,” he said. “Jordan used to skillfully stand at an equal distance from all the countries in the region, but with its intervention Jordan aligned itself with the American axis.”

According to Saud Al Sharafat, a former brigadier-general in the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate, Jordan’s cooperation in defending Israel from the Iranian attack was partially caused by Jordan’s fears of being pulled into Iran’s struggle against Israel.

“The Iranians have instructions to recruit Jordanians and penetrate the Jordan arena through agents,” he added. “Their recruitment efforts span all segments of society.”

Officials and diplomats in the region say that another motivating force for Jordan was the unprecedented attack on a U.S. military base in Jordan in January by Iran-aligned groups based in Iraq, which left three U.S. soldiers dead and 40 injured. The attack was ostensibly in support of Hamas in its war with Israel.

The sources added that Jordan’s military intervention was also intended as a message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Jordan is a crucial buffer zone for regional security.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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