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IS claims deadly Jordan Crusader castle attack

Gunmen killed 10 people including policemen and a Canadian tourist at renowned Jordanian heritage site
Jordanian police during the manhunt for attacker (reuters)

The Islamic State (IS) group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for an attack in Jordan that killed 10 people including policemen and a Canadian tourist.

Four "soldiers of the caliphate" with machine-guns and hand grenades carried out Sunday's assault in Karak targeting Jordanian security forces and citizens of the US-led coalition battling IS in Syria and Iraq, the group said in a statement.

The shootings took place in Karak, a tourist destination known for being the location of one of the biggest Crusader castles in the region, about 120km south of the capital Amman.

Jordan's general security department said seven policemen, a female Canadian tourist and two Jordanian civilians were killed in a series of shootings. It said that 27 others, including policemen and civilians, were wounded.

Police told Reuters the gunmen had arrived from the desert town of Qatraneh nearly 30km northeast of Karak, a desert outpost known for smuggling, where many tribal residents are heavily armed.

They had fled to Karak after an exchange of fire with the police at a residential building, security forces said.

Map of Karak in Jordan (MEE)

The Jordan Tourism Board described the Karak citadel, which dates back to the 12th century and has withstood many sieges, as a "maze of stone-vaulted halls and endless passageways".

The general security department statement on Sunday said "five or six gunmen" were thought to be involved in the shootings.

Jordan is a leading member of the US-led coalition fighting IS in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

It has carried out air strikes targeting IS, and also hosts coalition troops on its territory.

Maaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian fighter pilot, was captured by the militants when his plane went down in Syria in December 2014, and he was later burned alive in a cage.

Karak is Kassasbeh's home town.

In June, a suicide bombing claimed by IS killed seven border guards near the Syrian frontier.

According to sources close to militants, almost 4,000 Jordanians have joined groups in Iraq and Syria, and an estimated 420 have been killed since 2011.

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