‘Canadian’ among five killed in Jordan

The castle at KarakImage copyright

Image caption

The castle at Karak is a popular tourist attraction

A Canadian tourist and four police officers have been killed in gun attacks in and near the Jordanian city of Karak, officials say.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on two police patrols before fleeing to an ancient castle and attacking a police station there.

Several tourists were trapped inside but are now reported to have been freed and police are storming the castle.

No group has admitted carrying out the attacks.

At least nine people have been wounded, with some reports putting the figure much higher.

Jordanian officials said events began with a shoot-out between police and armed men at a house near Karak. The gunmen then fled by car into the city.

“Police and security forces have surrounded the castle and its vicinity and launched an operation to hunt down the gunmen,” a statement by Jordan’s public security directorate said.

It is not clear how many tourists were trapped inside Karak’s Crusader-era castle.

Footage on social media purportedly from the scene show armed police moving into the sprawling castle complex and helping tourists when shots ring out and they are forced to retreat.

The security directorate statement said gunmen had also shot at a security patrol before they reached the castle. Once inside they opened fire on a police station, a statement said.

It is not clear if all the fatalities took place at the castle.

Jordan is a close ally of the US and a member of the US-led coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq.

US forces have trained a small group of Syrian rebels in Jordan as well as Iraqi and Palestinian security forces.

IS has previously threatened to “break down” Jordan’s borders.

In June the group said it was behind a suicide truck-bomb attack that killed six security personnel on the border with Syria.

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