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Jordan airforce shoots down Iranian drones flying over to Israel

In World
April 14, 2024

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) -Jordan’s air force intercepted and shot down dozens of Iranian drones that violated its airspace and were heading to Israel, two regional security sources said.

They said the army was also in a state of high alert and radar systems were monitoring any drone activity coming from the direction of Iraq and Syria.

Residents in several cities in the northern part of the country near Syria and central and southern areas heard heavy aerial activity.

In neighbourhoods south of the capital Amman, 60 km (37 miles) from Jerusalem, several downed drones were seen.

Residents gathered around the remnants of one suspected large drone that fell in a commercial area of the city’s Marj al Hamam suburb.

A security source had earlier said the country’s air force was intensifying reconnaissance flights.

Jordan had earlier said it closed its airspace starting on Saturday night to all incoming, departing and transiting aircraft in what officials told Reuters were precautionary measures in the event of an Iranian strike across its border.

“The relevant authorities took the decision to close the airspace for precautionary reasons as a result of the surrounding security situation,” Jordan’s government spokesperson Muhannad Mubaideen said.

Mubaideen denied media reports that the kingdom had announced a state of emergency, adding there was no cause for concern among its citizens.

Jordan neighbours Syria and Iraq – both countries where Iranian proxy forces operate – and also is next door to Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

It has watched Israel’s war against the Palestinian group Hamas, another Iranian ally, with rising alarm for fear of getting caught in a crossfire.

Late last year, Amman asked Washington to deploy Patriot air defence systems to Jordan to bolster its border defences.

Officials say the Pentagon had since increased its military aid to the kingdom, a major regional ally, where hundreds of U.S. troops are based and hold exercises with the army throughout the year.

In January, three U.S. service members were killed and dozens wounded in a drone attack by Iran-backed militants on U.S. troops in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border.

It was the first deadly strike against U.S. forces since the Israel-Hamas war erupted in October, and marked a major escalation in tensions that have engulfed the Middle East.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Additional reporting by Ahmad Tolba and Adam Makary Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Daniel Wallis)

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