BAQAA REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's government spokesman said a "terrorist attack" on a local office of the national intelligence agency on Monday killed five employees, suggesting Islamic militants were involved.
Such attacks are relatively rare in Jordan, even though the pro-Western kingdom is on the front line in the military campaign against Islamic State extremists who control large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq.
The attack took place before 7 a.m., said government spokesman Mohammed Momani. He didn't say how the attack was carried out, but suggested those involved were Islamic militants.
He described them as "criminal elements who don't represent our moderate religion" and who "spilled blood on the first day of Ramadan," the Muslim fasting month.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The targeted security office is a two-story building facing the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqaa near the Jordanian capital of Amman. The camp has a population of tens of thousands, including many Syrian refugees who have settled there since the start of the Syria conflict in 2011.
A highway separates the security compound and the camp.
Several hours after the attack, the access road to the security compound was closed. Security agents were visible outside the building, including masked members of the counter-terrorism squad.
Those killed included four members of the guard service and a receptionist, according to Momani.
Monday's attack came three months after Jordanian special forces clashed with IS-linked gunmen at a hideout in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid. Seven suspected Islamic State activist and a Jordanian officer were killed at the time. The IS cell had planned attacks on military and civilian targets in the kingdom, officials said.
Over the past two years, since Islamic State's swift land gains in Syria and Iraq, Jordan has cracked down on suspected sympathizers to prevent the extremists from recruiting supporters in Jordan.
Several hundred Jordanians have been sentenced to prison by special military courts for expressing support for IS on social media.
Jordan is part of the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State.