Jordanian counterterrorism force kills three fugitives in firefight, officials say
PHOTO CAPTION: A Jordanian Special Forces member fires a pistol during weapons training with U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Operators as part of Eager Lion 2019 at King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Aug. 25, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rose Gudex via U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
AMMAN (Reuters) -Three men, including the prime suspect in the death of a policeman at the end of last year, were killed in clashes with Jordan's elite anti-terrorism squad on Sunday, a security source told Reuters.
A police statement later said that the two other men who were killed had escaped from a high security prison several days ago, where they were being held on "terrorism charges".
The police officer was killed by unknown assailants during clashes with demonstrators last December over high fuel prices in a town near the impoverished southern city of Maan, in some of the worse unrest seen there in years.
In the following days, authorities carried out a hunt for the culprits, who they alleged followed the ideology of the militant group Islamic state. Three other policemen and one suspect were killed in the operation.
At the time, the police said a large cache of weapons was found in a hideout used by militants, some of whom they alleged had ties with Islamist radical groups that fought in Syria's civil war and who were trying to exploit the unrest to destabilise the country.
The unrest petered out after the authorities mobilised hundreds of troops to crackdown on rioters drawn from Bedouin hamlets, who had blocked a national highway to the country's main port of Aqaba, causing tens of millions of dollars in losses.
Jordan has seen sporadic bouts of civil unrest over economic pressures but has escaped relatively unscathed the wave of uprisings, civil wars and militant violence that have swept the region since 2011.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Sharon Singleton)