Israel tracing increasing number of terror cells to handlers in Jordan
JERUSALEM — Israel's intelligence community has determined that Jordan was becoming a base for insurgency operations against the Jewish state.
Officials said the intelligence community has traced a spate of insurgency plots to the Hashemite kingdom. They said Jordan was tolerating Palestinian cells, including from such groups as Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
"We have repeatedly raised this with Jordan and yet we find that terrorist planning continues," an official said.
On June 27, the Israel Security Agency said it captured a PFLP cell in the West Bank city of Hebron and Nablus. The agency said cell members, arrested in May, were directed by handlers in Jordan. One of the cell members was identified as Aid Assad Marka.
"He [Marka] also stated that he was in contact with terrorists abroad and met with them in Jordan, and that they encouraged him to carry out the attack," ISA said.
The PFLP cell was accused of attacking Israeli hikers on May 2 in a shooting that did not cause injuries. ISA said the cell was operated by handlers in Jordan, themselves directed by Hizbullah operatives in Lebanon.
This marked the second ISA announcement of Jordanian involvement in Palestinian insurgency strikes in June. On June 3, the agency said a Hamas commander from Qatar, identified as Hisham Hajaz, arrived in Jordan to help recruit a cell in the West Bank.
"In April of this year the suspect had met with Hisham Abed Elkader Ibrahim Hajaz, a Hamas terrorist, in Jordan," ISA said.
The intelligence community has concluded that Jordan was losing control over its borders amid the civil war in Syria. So far, more than 550,000 Syrians fled to northern Jordan in what has taxed the kingdom's civilian and security authorities.
"This is a difficult situation and could get worse over the next few months," the official said.